Maccabi TA celebrate 22 .
(photo credit: AP)
With just three wins in 16 matches this season, Maccabi Tel Aviv enters Saturday's game at rock-bottom Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan in a situation no one at the club envisioned in their worst nightmares at the start of the season.
By failing to win in its last seven tries, Maccabi is now only five points in front of Hakoach and two points from Bnei Sakhnin in 11th position, which leads to a relegation playoff against a National League team.
"This is an important match, but every match is critical," Maccabi coach Avi Nimni said on Thursday. "We must get back on track as soon as possible."
Ramat Gan claimed just its second win of the season last week in Sakhnin. With a victory on Saturday, the club will not only complicate Tel Aviv's situation, but will also significantly boost its chances of Premier League survival.
In other action, Maccabi Haifa hosts Sakhnin on Saturday and will be looking to rebound from last week's defeat at Maccabi Petah Tikva.
The 2-0 loss was only Haifa's second of the season and coach Elisha Levy is confident his players can return to winning ways on Saturday and maintain their position at the top of the table.
"We are our own greatest critics and realize we haven't been playing very well since the winter break," Levy said. "However, there's no reason that we should be getting stressed. We're looking into what's not working and correcting it."
Betar Jerusalem also visits Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday, searching for a second win in seven matches.
The two-time reigning champion squandered a two-goal advantage last week and was held to 2-2 draw by Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Teddy Stadium.
"Not winning last week sure didn't help our confidence," midfielder Idan Tal said on Thursday.
"Had we won, it would have been easier to ignore all the happenings around the club. We're doing our best to concentrate on training and on the matches, but it's not so simple."
Also Saturday, Ashdod SC hosts Bnei Yehuda, which has won five of its last six matches, and Maccabi Petah Tikva visits Kiryat Shmona.
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Netanya at Bloomfield Stadium.