Shota Arveladze will make a 3,300km journey to face one of his old clubs as AZ Alkmaar welcome Maccabi Tel-Aviv on matchday two, the Dutch side unbeaten at home this season.
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AZ Alkmaar welcome a couple of notable former employees on matchday three, as Maccabi Tel-Aviv head to the Netherlands looking to pick up their first points in UEFA Europa League Group D.
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• AZ's only previous encounters with Israeli opposition produced home and away wins against Maccabi Haifa in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv's four UEFA meetings with Dutch sides have ended W2 D0 L2; two 2-1 home victories and two away defeats by three-goal margins.
• AZ remain unbeaten at home in Europe this season (W1 D2), but their five-game unbeaten start to this European campaign ended with a 5-0 reverse at Zenit on matchday two.
• AZ have successfully navigated five of their eight previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.
• Maccabi have made an unhappy start in Group D – they led 3-0 against Zenit on matchday one but managed to lose 4-3, and then went down 1-0 at Dundalk, who became the first Irish club to win a UEFA Europa League group match.
• Maccabi and Gabala are the only teams to have made it from the first qualifying round to the group stage in the current UEFA Europa League.
• Maccabi have qualified for the round of 32 in one of their two previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, 2013/14.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Tel Aviv to Alkmaar is around 3,300km.
• Maccabi midfielder Haris Medunjanin started his professional career with AZ, representing the club from 2004–08, during which time he was a team-mate of his Maccabi coach, Shota Arveladze.
• Maccabi defender Tal Ben Haim can chalk up his 50th UEFA club competition appearance in this fixture.
• AZ forward Robert Mühren is the nephew of former Netherlands duo Gerrie and Arnold Mühren; the latter lifted the UEFA Cup with Ipswich Town in 1981.
• AZ coach John van den Brom spent the bulk of his playing career as a midfielder for Vitesse and was capped twice by the Netherlands. As a coach, he claimed the Belgian championship with Anderlecht in 2013, taking command in Alkmaar in 2014.
• Maccabi's Georgian coach Arveladze hit an impressive 32 goals in 64 UEFA club games as a player, lifting league titles with Ajax, Rangers and Trabzonspor. He is in his first term in Israel having spent the last five years coaching in Turkey.
• Arveladze scored 48 goals in 89 outings in all competitions for AZ from 2005–07, and served as the club's assistant coach under Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman from 2008–10.