Astana v Maccabi Tel-Aviv background

Astana will strive to extend their impressive unbeaten home run to 17 European games as they welcome Maccabi Tel-Aviv in UEFA Europa League Group A.

Astana celebrate scoring against Slavia Praha
Astana celebrate scoring against Slavia Praha ©Getty Images

Astana will strive to extend their impressive unbeaten home run to 17 European games as they welcome Maccabi Tel-Aviv in UEFA Europa League Group A.

Previous meetings
• The teams are meeting for the first time.

• Astana's only past tie against an Israeli side came in the 2014/15 UEFA Cup second qualifying round, when they eliminated Maccabi's neighbours Hapoel Tel-Aviv – winning 3-0 at home and losing 1-0 in the return leg staged in Larnaca, Cyprus.

• Maccabi won their only previous tie against a Kazakh team: they drew 1-1 away and won 2-1 at home to Kairat Almaty in last season's UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.

Highlights: Astana 1-1 Slavia Praha
Highlights: Astana 1-1 Slavia Praha

Form guide
• Astana are unbeaten in 16 European home games (W8 D8) since a 3-0 loss to Villarreal in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• Maccabi have won four of their five UEFA away matches this season (W4 L1) – conceding just one goal in the process – but did lose at Slavia Praha on matchday one.

• Beaten by Celtic in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Astana are playing group-stage football for a third successive season: UEFA Champions League in 2015/16, UEFA Europa League in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

• Maccabi have progressed from the first qualifying round to the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight campaign. They were league and cup runners-up in Israel last term.

Highlights: M. Tel-Aviv 0-0 Villarreal
Highlights: M. Tel-Aviv 0-0 Villarreal

Trivia and links
• The journey from Tel Aviv to Astana is around 3,700km.

• International team-mates:
Igor Shitov, Ivan Maevski (Astana) and Yegor Filipenko (Maccabi) – Belarus
Marin Aničić, Djordje Despotović (Astana) and Tino Sven-Sušić (Maccabi) – Bosnia-Herzegovina

The coaches
• Hired in 2014, Stanimir Stoilov has led Astana to three successive Kazakh titles. The former Bulgaria player and coach enjoyed his most fruitful years as a player at Levski Sofia, whom he later guided to two championships – and the 2005/06 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

• Jordi Cruyff took over as Maccabi boss in 2017 after five years as the club's sporting director. The son of Dutch great Johan Cruyff, he played for Barcelona and Manchester United and reached the 2001 UEFA Cup final with Alavés.