Having ended a nine-year wait for the Israeli title, Beitar Jerusalem FC hope to celebrate the return of European football to their Teddy Stadium with a win.
Having ended a nine-year wait for the Israeli title, Beitar Jerusalem FC hope to celebrate the return of European football to their Teddy Maicha Stadium with a win against FC København.
'We can beat them'
The stakes are high for Tuesday's visit of København, who lead this UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie thanks to Marcus Allbäck's solitary strike in the Danish capital last week. Despite the deficit, Beitar coach Itzhak Shum is confident of winning through to face SL Benfica in the third qualifying round. "København are a good side yet we can still beat them and reach the next stage, where Benfica are waiting," said Shum, who has coached both Maccabi Haifa FC and Panathinaikos FC in the UEFA Champions League proper.
A 20,000-capacity crowd is expected for Beitar's first European tie at the Teddy Stadium since 1999, although Shum says that will not be a decisive factor. "It is our first home game in Europe for a long time but the Teddy Stadium alone won't get us the victory we need." What may swing the contest in his side's favour is the fact the coach is now better acquainted with his players: last Tuesday's match was his first competitive outing since replacing Yossi Mizrahi at the helm in July. "I didn't know what to expect from my players in the first leg, but now I know a lot more and we are better prepared," said Shum. "Obviously, I know the Danish team better as well, but as far as I am concerned the match begins on Tuesday with the score goalless and us needing to win."
'More of a taste'
The 58-year-old, who played for Israel at the 1970 FIFA World Cup, added that "the Champions League is an amazing competition – I have been fortunate enough to experience it three times and I would like my players to have more of a taste as well." Beitar midfielder Derek Boateng, however, is suspended after being sent off at the Parken Stadium and will be replaced by Milovan Mirosevic.