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Home advantage for Hapoel against Rapid

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC meet FC Rapid Bucureşti for the second time with the visitors, back in Europe after a two-season absence, starting what they hope will be a journey to a final on home soil.

Hapoel fans have seen their side lose just once in 14 European home games
Hapoel fans have seen their side lose just once in 14 European home games ©Bongarts

Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC and FC Rapid Bucureşti meet again in their UEFA Europa League Group C opener, with both sides looking to improve on a draw when they first met back in 2006.

Previous meetings
• Răzvan Lucescu's Rapid twice pegged back Itzhak Shum's Hapoel when the teams drew 2-2 in their only previous meeting, a 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage game at Bloomfield Stadium.

• The teams for that match on 2 November 2006 were:
Hapoel: Elimelech, Dego (Chen 46), Abukasis (Abutbul 72), Badir, Barda, Bondarv, Toama, De Bruno, Antebi, Ogbonna (Vermouth 76), Páez.
Rapid: Coman, Rada, Zicu (Mazilu 57), Bădoi, Artavazd Karamyan (Griffiths 68), Lazăr, Măldărăşanu (Grigore 85), Săpunaru, Maftei, Buga, Moldovan.

• It was the clubs' only game to date against a side from their opponents' home country.

• Hapoel went on to qualify for the round of 32 with five points, but four draws in the section meant Rapid missed out.

Match background
• Hapoel have won both of their European home games this season 4-0, and have lost only one of their last 14 matches at Bloomfield Stadium, 3-1 against Olympique Lyonnais in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage. Their record over the course of those fixtures reads W8 D5 L1.

• Since their last UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League loss at Bloomfield Stadium (2-1 against AS Saint-Étienne on 18 September 2009), Hapoel have recorded five wins and three draws at home in the competition. They have not conceded at home in four UEFA Europa League games.

• Back in Europe after a two-season absence, Rapid had not won in four away games (or scored a goal in three) when they beat WKS Śląsk Wrocław in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs.

Team facts
• At 66, Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan is one of the most respected figures in Israeli football. The former defensive midfielder coached Israel from 2006 to 2010 and took Beitar Jerusalem FC and Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv into Europe, as well as Hapoel, whom he has led in three previous spells.

• Rapid coach Lucescu's father Mircea – now coach of FC Shakhtar Donetsk – led Romania in two friendly draws (0-0 at home and 1-1 away) against Israel in 1984.

• Razvăn played in goal for a number of Romanian clubs, including Rapid, and briefly played in Italy for Crema Calcio in 1992/93, while his father was coaching Serie A side Brescia Calcio. In a previous spell as Rapid coach, he won two Romanian Cups and led them to the quarter-finals of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup and into the group stage once more the following season. He then coached Romania from 2009 to 2011.