Maccabi Haifa FC are aiming to complete a hat-trick of UEFA Champions League group-stage appearances but find in their way a KRC Genk side seeking entry into Europe's elite for the first time since 2002/03.
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition. This is Haifa's first encounter with a Belgian club and the same goes for Genk and Israeli opposition.
• There have only been ten games played between Israeli and Belgian club sides in UEFA competition and the Belgians have the upper hand with a record of W6 D2 L2.
• Genk coach Frank Vercauteren oversaw one of those Belgian victories, his RSC Anderlecht side beating Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC 2-0 in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Four of those games were played in Israel, the home side losing the first two but winning the two most recent fixtures.
• No Israeli club has won in Belgium in six attempts, with the home sides' record reading W4 D2 L0.
• Haifa are on a three-game winning streak at home in Europe since losing all three of their matches in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Genk suffered a 4-2 away defeat at eventual winners FC Porto in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-offs but earned a 1-1 draw at FK Partizan in the third qualifying round this season and have lost just two of their last seven European away outings.
• Genk's 2-1 win against Partizan was only their third in seven European home games, the other four having ended in defeat.
• Genk's only previous appearance in the UEFA Champions League proper came in the 2002/03 first group stage, where under Sef Vergoossen they failed to win a game and finished bottom, despite draws against AEK Athens FC twice, AS Roma and Real Madrid CF.
• This is the Belgian title holders' fourth UEFA Champions League qualifying campaign. They lost to NK Maribor in the second qualifying round in 1999/2000 (agg: 4-5) but beat AC Sparta Praha on away goals in the third qualifying round to make it to the group stage in 2002/03.
• FK Sarajevo blocked their progress in the 2007/08 second qualifying phase (agg: 2-2, Sarajevo won on away goals), but they beat Partizan (agg: 3-2) to reach this season's play-offs.
• Haifa have not won in six European away games, since a 2-1 victory at FC Salzburg in the first leg of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League play-offs, though a 1-1 draw at Maribor in their most recent tie ended a run of five straight losses.
• Elisha Levi's team comfortably dispatched FK Borac Banja Luka in the second qualifying round, 7-4 on aggregate, before edging past Slovenia's Maribor 3-2 overall to reach the play-offs.
• Haifa lost their sole tie in European competition last season, 3-2 on aggregate against FC Dinamo Minsk in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
• Haifa have happy memories of their only previous appearance in the play-offs, a 5-1 aggregate victory against Salzburg in 2009/10.
• While that secured the Israeli club their second group-stage appearance, they will need no reminding of how things unfolded subsequently. Haifa not only lost all six games but also became the second club after RC Deportivo La Coruña in 2004/05 to go through a group stage without scoring.
• In 2002/03 Haifa competed in the first group stage, recording two wins – including a 3-0 home success against Manchester United FC – and a draw.
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