Coach Eli Gutman knows Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC must improve in all areas as they bid to get off the mark at home to an FC Schalke 04 team thriving in Europe but toiling in the Bundesliga.
Article top media content
Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC have been told to sharpen up in defence and attack as they begin what coach Eli Gutman calls the "second round" of UEFA Champions League Group B at home to FC Schalke 04. In contrast to the point-less Israeli side, second-placed Schalke have six points, the same number as from their 10 Bundesliga games, and Felix Magath is sure their domestic worries will not hinder them on Tuesday.
Eli Gutman, Hapoel coach
Now we are starting the second round of the Champions League full of ambition and with our crowd behind us. We still hope to get results. After the first round we have taken notes and we may make changes.
We have to stay tight to the Schalke players and not give them the space to show their quality. We need to press more and attack more. We do have problems in defence – in the league we have let in too many goals – and we have to work on that more than ever. [Forward] Etey Shechter is a key player and he is missed but Hapoel are all about team play – we showed in our last game [at the weekend] that with our two other strikers we can still win.
Felix Magath, Schalke coach
We will do our best and [our Bundesliga position] won't bring us down. We will go out there and give the best we can. We believe in our new players, we know Hapoel are a strong team at home but we will do all that is necessary to come away with three points.
Even if we lose, which we hope won't happen, we still have six points in the bag and also another home game and away game to come. I don't think if Hapoel manage to win this game it will affect us. Things are very different in the Champions League from the Bundesliga. We are aware of our poor standing in the Bundesliga but we are trying to overcome that.
Avihay Yadin went off with an ankle injury against Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC on Saturday and is struggling for fitness. Shechter will sit out Matchday 4 after tearing his right hamstring, while Romain Rocchi (groin) and Mahran Lala (knee ligaments) are long-term absentees.
Lukas Schmitz is out with a hip injury, Junmin Hao has not travelled following an appendectomy on 29 October, Jermaine Jones is laid off by an ankle ligament problem, and Mathias Schober is ill. Tim Hoogland is back in training after a knee problem and pancreatitis, while Levan Kenia (ankle) and Christian Pander (muscular problems) remain out of the picture.
30/10/10 Hapoel 3-2 Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC
(Tamuz 27 51, Zahavi 67; Asulin 71, Melikson 90+3)
Salim Toama made his first start of the campaign as Gutman's team claimed a fourth successive Ligat Ha'Al victory. Hapoel have kept only one clean sheet in their last 15 UEFA Champions League and domestic top-flight games.
30/10/10 Schalke 0-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Schalke have lost eight of their 16 fixtures in all competitions this term, the same as in the whole of 2009/10. Schalke and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach are the only Bundesliga sides yet to win at home in the league this season.
Did you know?
The previous two Israeli contestants in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Maccabi Haifa FC and Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC, finished bottom of their groups. Indeed, the country's representatives have failed to win a group match in the competition proper in the last 11 attempts; the last victors were Maccabi Tel-Aviv who beat AFC Ajax 2-1 on 3 November 2004.
See the match background for more information.