Despite the fact that only an unlikely combination of results would see Maccabi Tel Aviv fail to reach the Europa League round-of-32 on Thursday night, the yellow-and-blue is taking nothing for granted ahead of Girondins de Bordeaux’s visit to Bloomfield Stadium.

A draw would be enough for Maccabi to clinch second place in Group F, while even a defeat will probably not cost Tel Aviv a berth in the knockout rounds.

Maccabi can only be eliminated should it lose to Bordeaux, which has nothing to play for, and APOEL Nicosia beats groupwinner Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany on Thursday, with the combined goal difference of the two results reaching at least four goals in Nicosia’s favor.

“I’m expecting a good showing because I know that we need a good performance to get a positive result and it will be a special day if we achieve it,” said Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa. “The players deserve all the credit for what they’ve achieved so far.

They are working very hard and recording important results for themselves, the club and Israeli soccer as a whole. I hope we will register the result everyone is expecting from us in our final group match.”

Maccabi beat an under-strength Bordeaux 2-1 in France two months ago, with coach Francis Gillot set to start with an even weaker lineup at Bloomfield as the team’s league results are currently far more significant to the club.

Bordeaux has won three straight Ligue 1 matches to climb to sixth place in the French standings and Gillot will use Thursday’s encounter to award his substitutes and inexperienced players valuable playing time.

Late Thursday, Maccabi Haifa will complete its Group L matches when it hosts Shakhter Karagandy at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.

Both Haifa and Karagandy lost any hope of qualifying long ago and will be playing for no more than pride on Thursday after collecting just two points from their first five games.

Haifa will, however, be hoping to build on its four-match Premier League winning streak as it continues its recovery from a dismal start to the campaign.

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