Hapoel to learn next foe

Tel Aviv will find out who stands in the way of their Champions League group stage aspirations.

HAPOEL TEL AVIV 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv will discover which team will stand in its way of reaching the Champions League group stage for the first time in club history when the draw for the playoff round is made in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday afternoon.
Thanks to its impressive performances in European competition in recent seasons, Hapoel is among the five seeded teams in accordance with UEFA club coefficient rankings, ensuring the club a relatively easier route to the group stage.
None of Tel Aviv’s potential opponents will be pushovers, but the Reds will certainly have their preferences in Friday’s draw.
While Hapoel would be confident of getting the better of Norway’s Rosenborg BK, Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade and Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg, it would much rather face one of the two other potential opponents, Slovakia’s MSK Zilina and Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol.
The playoffs will be played over two legs on August 17/18 and 24/25, with Hapoel to host its home leg at Bloomfield Stadium.
However, UEFA informed the club on Wednesday that should it make the group stage it would have to host its home matches at National Stadium in Ramat Gan as that is the only soccer arena in Israel which meets UEFA’s criteria.
Hapoel is still hoping it can come to an agreement with the Tel Aviv Municipality to make alterations to Bloomfield and upgrade it to UEFA’s highest standard, but first the team must get the job done on the pitch.