Chelsea keen to add to Maccabi's travails

In prime position to secure one of the two qualifying places in Group G, Chelsea will be looking to build on their matchday four victory when they visit Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fàbregas (left) scored against Maccabi on matchday one
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fàbregas (left) scored against Maccabi on matchday one ©AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea FC's late win against FC Dynamo Kyiv on 4 November has made the London team favourtes for one of the qualifying places in UEFA Champions League Group G and they will be seeking another victory against point-less Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC.

• With seven points, three behind leaders FC Porto, Chelsea will qualify for the knockout rounds if they win and Dynamo fail to do the same in Portugal.

The Blues eased to a 4-0 victory in the Stamford Bridge game on matchday one. Willian and Oscar scored to leave Maccabi trailing at half-time – the latter from the spot after Eden Hazard had blazed an early penalty over the bar – with Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas adding two more after the break.

• The teams had not met on the competitive stage before this season. Maccabi coach Slaviša Jokanović faces one of his former clubs, as does Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim.

Match background

• The Tel Aviv club, back in the group stage after 11 years, followed the Chelsea reverse by going down 2-0 at home to Dynamo. Losing home and away to FC Porto leaves them as the only side in the competition without a point.

• Despite Eran Zahavi's seven goals in the qualifying rounds, Maccabi won only two of their six fixtures and have now lost six of their ten UEFA Champions League matches this season.

• The last time Maccabi were in this elite company, in 2004/05, they had the misfortune of sharing a group with three former winners: FC Bayern München, Juventus and AFC Ajax.

• They finished in fourth place but some consolation came at home with a defeat of Ajax and a draw with Juve.

• Maccabi's only previous meetings with English opponents brought two defeats against Stoke City FC (1-2 home, 0-3 away) in the 2011/2012 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• On matchday two they succumbed 2-1 at Porto and then took four points from Dynamo (0-0 away, 2-1 home).

• Last year, when they won their group for the ninth time in their last 12 campaigns, the Blues remained unbeaten but went out on away goals in the round of 16 with a 2-2 home draw against Paris Saint-Germain after the first leg ended 1-1 in France.

• Chelsea's only previous visit to Israel was a 2-0 loss at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup second round, preceding a 1-1 home draw. Jokanović was in the lineup in Tel Aviv, while John Terry played in both matches.

• José Mourinho lifted the UEFA Champions League with Porto (2004) and FC Internazionale Milano (2010) and is bidding to become the first head coach to win the European Cup with three teams.

Coach and player links
• Ben Haim had a year at Chelsea in 2007/08, beginning the season under Mourinho before the latter's departure in September. He had two UEFA Champions League outings and partnered Terry in defence. Overall, he made 17 starts plus six appearances as a substitute.

• Jokanović started 28 games in a two-year spell and made a further 25 appearances from the bench.

• Asmir Begović conceded four goals against Israel in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers as Bosnia and Herzegovina lost 3-0 in Haifa on 16 November 2014 before winning 3-1 in Zenica on 12 June 2015. Three of the goals were scored by Maccabi players: Tal Ben Chaim, Gil Vermouth and Zahavi.

• John Obi Mikel and Nosa Igiebor have played together for Nigeria.

Match facts

• Ben Haim and Ben Chaim are both a booking away from a ban.

• Maccabi have won six of their last seven Ligat HaAl fixtures.

• After only scoring once in September, for Israel in a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier against Andorra, Zahavi has since managed eight goals in ten outings for club and country.

• Zahavi converted a penalty in the 3-0 success at Hapoel Haifa FC on Saturday – his 100th Israeli league goal. His next goal for Maccabi will be his 100th for the club. Nosa Igiebor and Avraham Rikan each scored their first of the season.

• Costa's goal in the 1-0 home victory over Norwich City FC on Saturday was his first in eight appearances for club and country.

• Chelsea succumbed 1-0 to Stoke City FC on 7 November – their third successive top-flight reverse. They last lost three Premier League games in a row in October 1999.

• Mourinho has suffered seven league defeats in a season for the first time as a manager.

• Chelsea have conceded at least two goals in nine of their 13 Premier League fixtures this term, 23 in total. They had let in the same number in 2014/15 after 29 rounds.