Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Moti Ivanir 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Moti Ivanir is hoping the club can embark on a bright new
era when it hosts Xazar Lankaran FK of Azerbaijan in the first leg of the second
qualifying round of the Europa League at Bloomfield Stadium on Thursday
After a bitterly disappointing 2010/11, Maccabi is determined to
get the new season off on the right foot in the hope of eventually mounting a
serious challenge for the Premier League title for the first time since winning
the championship seven years ago.
The start of the league campaign is
still more than a month away, but Ivanir said Wednesday that he is very pleased
with his new squad and is confident that the fans will see a team that give its
all in every match, starting on Thursday.
“We want to set out on a new
course and change what has been here in recent years,” Ivanir said. “We want to
see our players more committed and we want to see better team work, with every
player giving everything he has on the field.”
Despite the fact that
Xazar has never won a European tie in four previous attempts, Ivanir remains
wary of the club, known in its local media as ”Caucasian Chelsea” due to its
Lankaran is guided by top Romanian coach Mircea Rednic
and has added some 14 players to its squad in the offseason, including three
Brazilians, five Romanians and several other players of different
“The league in Azerbaijan may not be so highly regarded,
but this is a European team,” Ivanir said. “We are focusing on our play much
more than we are on the opponent and I expect to see my team play determined and
“I think Maccabi is building itself for a wonderful
future, but I hope that we don’t have to wait too long for it.”
Thursday, Bnei Yehuda will visit UE Sant Julià of Andorra in the first leg of
its second qualifying round tie.
“I feel we are ready for this match,”
said new coach Yossi Abuksis. “We are treating this match very seriously and we
will make sure we play committed soccer.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv will begin its
Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round.
On TV: Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Xäzär Länkäran (live on Sport 1 at 8 p.m.)