Hapoel favored to advance in Europa League

Reds can take a significant step towards another extended continental campaign when it visits Luxembourg.

August 23, 2012 00:42
1 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv's OMER DAMARI

Hapoel Tel Aviv's OMER DAMARI 370. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)


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Hapoel Tel Aviv has participated in the group stage of a European competition in five of the past six seasons and will be confident of taking a significant step towards another extended continental campaign when it visits F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg in the first leg of the Europa League playoffs on Thursday night.

Hapoel has played in the group stage of the UEFA Cup/Europa League four times since 2006 (2006/07, 2007/08, 2009/10 2011/12), also reaching the Champions League groups in 2010/11, and it will be a firm favorite to overcome Dudelange.

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The Luxembourg champion stunned Red Bull Salzburg of Austria in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, but suffered a double defeat to Maribor of Slovenia in the subsequent round, losing 5-1 on aggregate, to drop to the Europa League and shouldn’t pose any real threat to Hapoel.

Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor, who is set to leave for Spain’s Real Betis by the end of the August transfer window, could make his final appearance for Hapoel tonight, while several players will be recording their European debut for the Reds in Luxembourg.

Former Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba, who arrived from Odense BK of the Danish league, will start in the center of the field, with Brazilian Bruno and Israel international Tal Ben-Haim also expected to play.

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