UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC||Ha Moshava - Petah TikvaThursday 22 October 2020|
18.55CET (19.55 local time) Group C - Matchday 1
|SK Slavia Praha|
Israeli Cup winners Hapoel Beer-Sheva host Czech champions Slavia Praha on the opening night of UEFA Europa League Group C.
• There have been no previous matches between the clubs in UEFA competition.
• Hapoel's most recent European outing was a home fixture against Czech opposition – a 1-0 win against Viktoria Plzeň in last month's UEFA Europa League play-off. That was their first win against a Czech club following four successive defeats, all in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Slavia's only previous experience of Israeli opposition was a positive one as they beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv home (1-0) and away (2-0) in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Fourth in the Israeli league in 2019/20, Hapoel secured European qualification for the seventh successive season by winning the Israeli State Cup, beating Maccabi Petach-Tikva 2-0 in the final. Last season's European adventure ended in the UEFA Europa League play-offs against Feyenoord (0-3 a, 0-3 h).
• This season Josef Abukasis's side won their play-off tie, against Plzeň, following earlier qualifying phase successes against Dinamo Batumi (3-0 h), Laç (2-1 a) and Motherwell (3-0 h). Hapoel are therefore through to the UEFA Europa League group stage for the third time, having previously participated in 2016/17 – when they beat Internazionale twice and reached the round of 32 – and 2017/18, when they finished bottom of their group.
• The Israeli side's home record in the UEFA Europa League proper is W2 D1 L4, though they have won six of their nine home European qualifying matches since that 2017/18 participation, losing just one – that play-off second leg against Feyenoord.
• Champions of the Czech Republic for the third time in four years last season, Slavia missed out on a second successive UEFA Champions League group stage adventure this term when they were defeated by Midtjylland in the play-offs (0-0 h, 1-4 a).
• Fourth in their UEFA Champions League section last season, behind Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter, Slavia are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fourth time. They failed to make further progress in 2009/10 and 2017/18 but went all the way to the quarter-finals on their last appearance, in 2018/19, despite scoring just four goals in the group stage, a dramatic 4-3 extra-time home win over competition specialists Sevilla in the round of 16, after a 2-2 first-leg draw in Spain, providing an unforgettable highlight.
• Slavia have won just one of their last seven European away fixtures (D3 L3), though they did draw at both Inter (1-1) and Barcelona (0-0) in last season's UEFA Champions League. Their overall away record in the UEFA Europa League proper is W3 D4 L5, the most recent win 4-1 at Genk in the 2018/19 round of 32 second leg.
Links and trivia
• Slavia goalkeeper Přemysl Kovář played for Hapoel Haifa in Israel from 2014 to 2016, facing Hapoel Beer-Sheva three times (D1 L2). He is also the sole survivor from Slavia's matches against Maccabi Tel-Aviv three seasons ago, keeping a clean sheet in the Matchday 1 home win.
• Slavia coach Jindřich Trpišovský was in charge of Slovan Liberec when they beat Israeli side Hapoel Kiryat Shmona home (2-0) and away (3-1) in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round; current Slavia defender David Hovorka played in the away leg.
• Slavia midfielder Nicolae Stanciu scored for Romania against Israel in a March 2018 friendly in Netanya, equalising shortly after coming on as a substitute in a 2-1 win.