Beitar strengthened for Wisła challenge

Beitar Jerusalem FC expect a tough test from Wisła Kraków in the second qualifying round but Israel's champions will go into the tie with three new signings.

Sebastián Abreu has joined Beitar from River Plate
Sebastián Abreu has joined Beitar from River Plate ©Getty Images

Trio sign
Having lost in the second qualifying round in their last three UEFA Champions League campaigns – in 1997/98, 1998/99 and last season – Beitar will aim to go at least one better this time around. They will be aided in their task by the arrival of 31-year-old Uruguayan international striker Sebastián Abreu, who has joined from CA River Plate to replace departing Brazilian Antonio Romollo. In midfield Beitar have added 25-year-old Israeli international Moshe Ohayon from FC Ashdod, and 29-year-old Argentinian Darío Fernández from Panionios GSS.

Strong opponents
The home leg of Beitar's second qualifying round tie against Wisła is on 29/30 July, with the return a week later, and goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale – who nearly signed for the Polish title-holders two years ago – is taking nothing for granted. "They are a very strong side with talented Polish players and good foreigners too," said the Croatian. "I watched Kraków against [FC] Barcelona two years ago and I know we have a difficult task on our hands. The fact we are hosting the first leg at the Teddy Stadium has little significance in these situations."

Wisła fear
That respect is mutual, according to Wisła sporting director Jacek Bednarz. "We are not that happy as the draw could have been a little better for us," he said. "We have very strong opponents, one of the toughest in the draw, but I hope we still prevail. Playing the first leg away from home is an advantage. However, the problem is not only the quality of the opponent but also the climate. We expect conditions in Israel will be hotter than in Poland and this will be to their benefit. But this is the UEFA Champions League and we have to overcome these situations."

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