Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Over the past two months Maccabi Tel Aviv has played eight matches throughout
It has won six of them and drawn the other two.
However, what has been especially impressive about Maccabi’s run since August 24
is that it has conceded just a single goal over that span, and that too came in
an impressive 2-1 Europa League victory at Girondins de Bordeaux in France three
After defeating Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 1-0 on Sunday to open a
three-point lead atop the Premier League standings, Maccabi is closing in on
Hapoel Yahod’s record from the 1981/82 season when it only conceded its first
goal in its eighth match of the campaign.
The yellow-and-blue also
maintained a clean sheet against APOEL Nicosia in its Europa group opener,
drawing 0-0, and enters Thursday’s encounter at Eintracht Frankfurt well
positioned in Group F after coming back from a goal down to record a surprise
victory in Bordeaux.
However, Maccabi’s ruthless consistency faces an
even sterner test in Germany on Thursday. Frankfurt beat Bordeaux 3-0 in its
group opener before defeating Nicosia by the same score-line in
Frankfurt has experienced a far tougher time in the Bundesliga,
drawing its past four matches, although it has lost just one of its last seven
league contests since beginning its campaign with two defeats.
at Maccabi is well aware of the challenge the team faces in Frankfurt, but
recent results mean the yellow- and-blue enters any match believing in its
“We have confidence because we know what we have done until
now,” said Maccabi defender Carlos Garcia, who is one of the main reasons behind
his team’s superb defensive run, playing the full 90 minutes in Tel Aviv’s past
“We look to win every match. If Frankfurt shoots 20 times
on goal and we don’t shoot at all and the result is 0-0 it’s a good result. But
in the beginning our mentality is to go to Frankfurt and win. Maybe we’ll end up
playing in defense for 95 minutes, but we want to win.”
the entire team for its stingy defense.
“People look at the defenders and
goalkeeper when you don’t allow goals, but it starts from the strikers and
midfielders,” he explained. “They press a lot and work a lot.”
will also host Frankfurt at Bloomfield in two weeks and Carlos is not getting
ahead of himself despite Tel Aviv’s encouraging start to the group
“Our goal from the start was to advance to the next round,” he
“Now we have four points and we are in a good situation. However,
we have four more games and two consecutive against Frankfurt, which is the
strongest team in the group. It won’t be easy but that remains our
Maccabi Haifa visits PAOK Thessaloniki in Group L action on
Thursday, hoping to build on its first win in almost two months on Saturday, a
3-0 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva.
Haifa came back from two-goals down
to draw 2-2 at Shakhter Karagandy three weeks ago to pick up its first group
point after losing 1-0 to AZ Alkmaar in its opener.
For almost the first
time this season, Haifa coach Arik Benado will have a full squad at his disposal
and he will have some difficult decisions to make, especially as the Greens have
also got a league derby against Hapoel Haifa to look forward to on Sunday.