Viktoria Plzeň will hope that a long flight from Israel will dampen Hapoel Beer-Sheva's ardour as the Czech side bid to get their first points in Group G.
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Viktoria Plzeň will hope that a long flight from Israel will dampen Hapoel Beer-Sheva's ardour as the Czech side bid to get their first points in UEFA Europa League Group G.
• The sides are meeting for the first time.
• Plzeň have won three of their four previous encounters with Israeli sides: W3 L1 (W1 L1 at home).
• Beer-Sheva's only past encounters with a Czech side ended in defeats by Sparta Praha (1-0 at home, 2-0 away) in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Plzeň lost 3-0 at FCSB on matchday one; the Romanian side also eliminated them from this season's UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round.
• Beer-Sheva have lost three of their last four European away games (W1 L3).
• Runners-up in last term's Czech First League, Viktoria Plzeň are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage for a third straight season. They reached the last 16 in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
• Beaten on away goals by Maribor in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Beer-Sheva are back in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight season, having made it to the round of 32 in 2016/17.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Beer Sheva to Plzen is around 2,700km.
• Beer-Sheva boast Czech talent in the form of striker Tomáš Pekhart, who played for Slavia Praha (2009), Jablonec (2010) and Sparta Praha (2011).
• Pekhart played with Plzeň's Jan Kovařík at Slavia and Jablonec, and with Martin Zeman at Sparta.
• After stints as Czech Republic and Anji coach, Pavel Vrba rejoined Plzeň this year, having earlier steered Viktoria to two championships between 2008 and 2013. Once a Baník Ostrava player and coach, he lifted the 2006/07 Slovak title as Žilina boss.
• Appointed Beer-Sheva coach in 2015, Barak Bakhar promptly steered the club to their first title in 40 years, and successfully defended that crown in 2016/17. A defender, he spent his playing heyday at Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, whom he later coached.