Genk aiming to prolong Maccabi Haifa run

KRC Genk welcome Maccabi Haifa FC to Belgium needing to turn round a 2-1 first-leg defeat but knowing the Israeli club have not won on the road in six European matches.

Genk's Daniel Pudil (left) and Idan Vered of Maccabi Haifa in first-leg action
Genk's Daniel Pudil (left) and Idan Vered of Maccabi Haifa in first-leg action ©Getty Images

Maccabi Haifa FC are aiming to complete a hat-trick of UEFA Champions League group stage appearances but find in their way a KRC Genk side seeking entry into Europe's elite for the first time since the 2002/03 season.

• The Israeli side hold a 2-1 advantage after the first leg, Weaam Amasha and Vladimir Dvalishvili scoring in the first 28 minutes before Elyaniv Barda revived Genk's challenge a minute past the hour. The match proved to be Frank Vercauteren's last in charge of Genk as he left for al-Jazira Club in the United Arab Emirates, Pierre Denier and Hans Visser, who were Vercauteren's assistants, taking temporary charge.

Previous meetings
• The teams had never met in UEFA competition before the first leg and neither had either played a club from their opponents' country.

• There have only been 11 games played between Israeli and Belgian club sides in the history of UEFA club competition, and the Belgians have the upper hand with a record of W6 D2 L3.

• Five of those games were played in Israel, the home side losing the first two but winning the three most recent fixtures, including Haifa's first-leg triumph.

• No Israeli club has won in Belgium in six attempts, the home sides' record reading W4 D2 L0.

Match background
• Genk's 2-1 win against FK Partizan in the third qualifying round this season was only their third in seven European home games, the other four having ended in defeat.

• Haifa have not won in six European away games, since a 2-1 victory at FC Salzburg in the first leg of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League play-offs, though a 1-1 draw at NK Maribor in their most recent tie ended a run of five straight losses.

• Elisha Levi's team comfortably dispatched FK Borac Banja Luka in the second qualifying round, 7-4 on aggregate, but found the going significantly tougher in edging past Slovenia's NK Maribor 3-2 overall to reach the play-offs.

• Haifa lost their sole tie in European competition last season, 3-2 on aggregate against FC Dinamo Minsk in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

• Haifa have happy memories of their only previous appearance in the play-offs, a 5-1 aggregate victory against FC Salzburg in 2009/10.

• While that secured the Israeli club their second group stage appearance, they will need no reminding of how things unfolded subsequently. Haifa not only lost all six games but also became the second club after RC Deportivo La Coruña in 2004/05 to go through a group stage without scoring.

• In 2002/03 Haifa competed in the first group stage, recording two wins, including a 3-0 home success against Manchester United FC, and a draw.

• Genk's one and only previous appearance in the UEFA Champions League proper came in the 2002/03 first group stage, where under Sef Vergoossen they failed to win a game and finished bottom despite draws against AEK Athens FC twice, AS Roma and Real Madrid CF.

• This is the Belgian title holders' fourth UEFA Champions League qualifying campaign. They lost to Maribor in the second qualifying round in 1999/2000 (agg: 4-5) but beat AC Sparta Praha on away goals in the third qualifying round to make it to the group stage in 2002/03.

• FK Sarajevo blocked their progress in the 2007/08 second qualifying phase (agg: 2-2, Sarajevo won on away goals), but they beat FK Partizan (agg: 3-2) to reach this season's play-offs.