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Second-placed Maccabi Haifa FC are in pole position to claim a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as they meet Group J winners FC Schalke 04 on matchday six.
• Haifa are second in the section, a point clear of both FC Steaua Bucureşti and AEK Larnaca FC with a better head-to-head record against both sides. They will thus progress with a win, and could draw or even lose and go through provided there is no winner in Steaua's game against AEK Larnaca.
• Schalke won 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen when the sides met on matchday two in Huub Stevens' first game since his return to the club. Christian Fuchs (8 & 66) scored either side of an Idan Vered effort (35), with a late José Manuel Jurado finish (82) setting the seal on a home victory.
• All of Haifa's four other games against German opponents have also ended in defeat. They have scored only twice in the course of those fixtures.
• The Israeli side met Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage, losing 2-0 in the home match – played in Nicosia – and 2-1 away. They were paired with FC Bayern München in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage, going down 3-0 at home and 1-0 in Munich.
• Schalke's only previous experience of Israeli opposition was against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage; they won 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen and drew 0-0 in Tel Aviv.
• Haifa have won their last six home games in UEFA club competition since losing 1-0 to FC Girondins de Bordeaux on matchday six of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League.
• Schalke are unbeaten in six European games – four wins and two draws – since a 2-0 loss at HJK Helsinki in this season's play-off first leg.
• The German club recorded their biggest European victory on their travels in their last Group J away game, a 5-0 win at AEK Larnaca.
• Haifa have conceded 48 goals in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League; this is their 34th game.
• Having previously led FC Ashdod in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup, Elisha Levi has won league titles with Haifa in 2008/09 and 2010/11 and took his side through a UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 2009/10.
• Stevens replaced Ralf Rangnick as Schalke coach after matchday one. In his second spell in charge, Rangnick led the Gelsenkirchen club to the semi-finals of last season's UEFA Champions League, but resigned on 22 September saying he no longer had "the necessary energy to be successful and to develop the team and the club".
• Stevens previously coached Schalke from 1996 to 2002, winning the 1997 UEFA Cup as well as German Cups in 2001 and 2002. Originally a defender for Fortuna Sittard and PSV Eindhoven, the Dutchman was named by fans as the coach of Schalke's team of the century in 1999.
• Stevens came up against Maccabi Haifa as FC Salzburg coach in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League play-offs, his side losing 2-1 at home and 3-0 away.
• Mohammad Ghadir scored for Haifa in the first leg with Vladimer Dvalishvili and Eyal Golasa on target in the return.
• Stevens experienced more UEFA Champions League play-off disappointment last season in his only other games against an Israeli side. His Salzburg team lost 3-2 at home and drew 1-1 away against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.
• Stevens' record in five games against Israeli sides is W1 D1 L3 (W0 D1 L1 away).
• Stevens has not flown to Israel because his mother is seriously ill. His assistant Seppo Eichkorn will be in charge in his absence.
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