Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC's domestic travails cannot disguise the club's excitement at hosting a first group stage game as Olympique Lyonnais aim to forget their own poor form.
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Eli Gutman is hoping to cash in on the excitement around the Bloomfield Stadium as his Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC side prepare to host their first UEFA Champions League group stage game. Like Hapoel, Olympique Lyonnais have struggled in domestic football so far this season, but Claude Puel is hoping the European stage can provide a much-needed tonic for this side in Group B.
Eli Gutman, Hapoel coach
It feels like a holiday atmosphere around Bloomfield as the Champions League comes to the stadium. It is a joyful moment for our fans and for us. We had a very difficult match at Lisbon [losing 2-0 to SL Benfica on Matchday 1] and now face the favourites in our group. Lyon are a very technically gifted team with great players.
We come into this match following some bad results but now we are playing at home with our fans right behind us. This is a completely different experience to domestic football. We're playing in the Champions League so we will try to do better; it's a transition we have to make. My job as a responsible coach is to build the confidence of the team and help them achieve their ambitions.
Claude Puel, Lyon coach
I had another look at the St-Etienne match [which Lyon lost 1-0] and there were a lot of positives in our gestures and intentions. On another day we would have won. Tomorrow we'll again play with three attackers, the same system we used before. In terms of the situations of the two clubs, it's a bit like it was before the Schalke match.
The Champions League is a mini-competition and you have to build your qualification campaign, taking points where you can. Hapoel have good technical players, like [Gil] Vermouth or [Etey] Shechter, and they're strong tactically. We have to not take our opponents lightly while adapting to the heat which is not very common at this time of year. Jérémy Toulalan is in some discomfort but he's not certain to miss the game. We have to prepare well; a draw wouldn't satisfy me. We have to win, even if I respect the other team.
Mahran Lala could be out for the entire season after rupturing knee ligaments in a 3-2 League Cup win against Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC on 14 August.
Jean Makoun missed the loss to St-Etienne because of a thigh injury. Ederson, César Delgado, Alexandre Lacazette and Cris have all been sidelined by thigh problems, though Lacazette is available again while Toulalan should play. Aly Cissokho (hamstring) has also travelled to Israel but Lisandro, who missed the first three league games of the season because of an Achilles problem, was ruled out for "two to three weeks" after picking up a thigh knock.
25/09/10 Hapoel 2-4 Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona FC
(Shechter 10 54; Amashe 25 67 74, Njovu 37)
Douglas da Silva was sent off seven minutes from time as Hapoel's winless run was extended to four games. Eli Gutman's side have picked up just four points from their opening four Ligat ha'Al fixtures: they only had five at the same stage last term.
25/09/10 Lyon 0-1 AS Saint-Etienne
Defeat in the 100th derby du Rhone et de la Loire ended Lyon's 12-match unbeaten home run in Ligue 1. Lyon are in the relegation zone having picked up just five points from their first seven fixtures – they were second with 17 points at the same stage last term.
Did you know?
This is Lyon's first competitive fixture against any team from Israel. Hapoel have lost both their previous home games against French visitors, going down 2-1 to AS Saint-Etienne in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round and 2-0 to Stade Rennais FC in the 1996 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
See the match background for more information.