FC Schalke 04 prepare to meet Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa FC sporting an impressive recent home record in continental competition and knowing victory will take them top of a fledgling Group J.
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FC Schalke 04 will look to clip Maccabi Haifa FC's wings as they take on the Israeli champions in their first UEFA Europa League Group J game under Huub Stevens.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Schalke's only previous experience of Israeli opposition was against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage; they won 3-1 in Gelsenkirchen and drew 0-0 in Tel Aviv.
• All of Maccabi's four games against German opponents ended in UEFA Champions League group stage defeats. They scored only once in the course of those fixtures.
• Schalke's home record in their last 11 European home games reads W8 D1 L2; both those defeats came against sides from Manchester. They lost 2-0 to Manchester United FC in last season's UEFA Champions League semi-finals and by the same margin to Manchester City FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Maccabi have not won in seven games (one draw and six defeats) on their travels in Europe since beating FC Salzburg 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League play-offs on 19 August 2009.
• Maccabi's only previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage away games ended in a defeat and a draw.
• Huub Stevens was named as Schalke's new coach on Tuesday, replacing Ralf Rangnick. In his second spell in charge, Rangnick led the Gelsenkirchen club to the semi-finals of last season's UEFA Champions League, but resigned last Thursday saying he no longer had "the necessary energy to be successful and to develop the team and the club".
• Stevens coached Schalke from 1996-2002, winning the 1997 UEFA Cup as well as German Cups in 2001 and 2002. Originally a defender for Fortuna Sittard and PSV Eindhoven, the Dutchman was named by fans as the coach of Schalke's team of the century in 1999.
• Stevens came up against Maccabi Haifa as FC Salzburg boss in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League play-offs with his side losing 2-1 at home and 3-0 away.
• Shlomi Arbitman and Mohammad Ghadir scored for Maccabi in the first leg, with Vladimer Dvalishvili, Eyal Golasa and Ghadir on target in the return fixture. Ghadir, Dvalishvili and Golasa are still at the club.
• Stevens' only other games against Israeli sides came at the same stage of the same competition in 2010/11. This time Salzburg lost 3-2 at home and drew 1-1 away against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.
• Thus, Stevens' record in four games against Israeli sides is W0 D1 L3 (W0 D0 L2 as coach of the home side).
• Having previously led FC Ashdod in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup, Elisha Levi has won league titles with Maccabi in 2008/09 and 2010/11 and took his side through a UEFA Champions League group stage campaign two seasons ago.