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Lyon loom large over Hapoel's big night

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC's first home game in the UEFA Champions League brings them up against 2009 semi-finalists Olympique Lyonnais and history suggests a tough night is in store.

Lyon loom large over Hapoel's big night
Lyon loom large over Hapoel's big night ©UEFA.com

With three defeats in their four competitive games against opponents from France, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC have a tough hurdle to overcome in their first UEFA Champions League home game when they welcome Olympique Lyonnais to the Bloomfield Stadium.

• While the Israeli champions began Group B with a 2-0 defeat at SL Benfica, Lyon defeated FC Schalke 04 1-0 at Stade de Gerland.

Previous meetings
• 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.

• Away from home the Israeli club recorded a 4-2 success at Paris Saint-Germain FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage. Salim Toama scored twice inside the first six minutes while Walid Badier was also on the scoresheet. Gil Vermouth, Dani Bondarv and Shay Abutbul all featured.

• In their last match against Ligue 1 opponents, Hapoel went down 2-1 at St-Etienne in the UEFA Cup group stage on 2 October 2008.

Match background
• Hapoel, only the third Israeli team to reach the group stage, won an exciting play-off with FC Salzburg, drawing the home leg 1-1 after a 3-2 away win. Eli Gutman's side had edged past FK Aktobe 3-2 on aggregate in the third qualifying round, winning the home leg 3-1, while in the previous stage they defeated FK Željezničar 6-0 with all but one of the goals coming at home.

• Hapoel competed in last season's UEFA Europa League, making their exit in the round of 32. The Israeli champions won all three of their group home games, scoring eight goals. They were eliminated in the round of 32 by FC Rubin Kazan, a 0-0 draw at home following a 3-0 defeat in Russia.

• Lyon, competing in the group stage for the 11th consecutive season, have progressed to the knockout rounds in the past seven campaigns. They made it to the semi-finals last season for the first time, losing to FC Bayern München, and away from Stade de Gerland recorded three wins, a draw and three defeats – including the play-off round. Les Gones had finished second in their group, just as in the two previous seasons; before that the French club had come top of their section four years running.

Team ties
• Hapoel's French midfielder Romain Rocchi had spells with AS Cannes, PSG, SC Bastia, AC Ajaccio and FC Metz before moving to Israel this summer.

• Jérémy Toulalan and Yoann Gourcuff played for France against Nigeria in a friendly international in June 2009 in Saint-Etienne, Vincent Enyeama keeping a clean sheet as his team won 1-0.

• Anthony Réveillère won his first cap for France in a UEFA EURO 2004 qualifier against Israel at the Stade de France in October 2003. France won 3-0.

• In last season's UEFA Champions League Gourcuff helped FC Girondins de Bordeaux to a 1-0 home win against Maccabi Haifa FC in the group stage.

• Ben Sahar scored on his debut for Israel in a UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off first leg against France in October 2006, the game in Caen finishing 1-1. Sahar also played in Israel's 1-0 home win four days later.