FCSB v Hapoel Beer-Sheva background

FCSB have a perfect Group G record to protect when they welcome a Hapoel Beer-Sheva side that have lost their last three European away fixtures.

Bogdan Planić vies with Ben Sahar on matchday three
Bogdan Planić vies with Ben Sahar on matchday three ©AFP/Getty Images

With three wins in three matches under their belt, FCSB are in command of UEFA Europa League Group G and will secure an early berth in the round of 32 should they complete the double over Hapoel Beer-Sheva with victory at the Arena Naţională.

Previous meetings
• When the teams met on matchday three, FCSB emerged as 2-1 winners thanks to a double from French striker Harlem Gnohéré. Ex-Barcelona player Isaac Cuenca's late reply – the 4,500th goal scored in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final – was not enough to prevent Hapoel sliding to their first home defeat of the European season following four successive wins at the Turner Stadium.

• In their only other experience of Israeli opposition, FCSB played Maccabi Haifa in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage. They lost 5-0 in Haifa – their heaviest defeat in a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League game – but won the return 4-2 and went on to qualify for the round of 32.

Form guide
• FCSB have won all three of their Group G matches – their best-ever start to a UEFA group stage campaign. Their highest points tally in six previous UEFA Europa League group stages is 11, which they achieved in 2012/13 – the only time they have gone through as section winners.

• Beer-Sheva have lost their last three European away fixtures, including two UEFA Champions League qualifiers. The only victory they have achieved on the road in the UEFA Europa League proper was 2-0 at Internazionale on their group stage debut in 2016/17; since then they have drawn one and lost two.

Highlights: Hapoel Beer-Sheva 1-2 FCSB
Highlights: Hapoel Beer-Sheva 1-2 FCSB

• Defeated 5-1 on aggregate by Sporting CP in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, FCSB are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a seventh time since the tournament assumed its current format in 2009/10. In addition to 2012/13, when they progressed all the way to the round of 16, they also reached the knockout phase in 2011/12.

• Beaten on away goals by Maribor in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Beer-Sheva are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight season, having made it to the round of 32 on their debut appearance in 2016/17.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Beer Sheva to Bucharest is around 1,650km.

• Beer-Sheva's Anthony Nwakaeme (Universitatea Cluj 2009–13) and Hatem Elhamed (Dinamo Bucureşti 2015) have both played in Romania.

• FCSB's Romanian international midfielder Mihai Pintilii played in Israel with Hapoel Tel-Aviv (2015–16).

• This is FCSB's 40th game in the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition high that they share with Salzburg.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Constantin Budescu (FCSB); Loai Taha (Beer-Sheva).

The coaches
• Nicolae Dică returned to FCSB as coach in May 2017, having served the club as a player in two previous spells, landing two titles – and a further one with CFR Cluj. The attacking midfielder also played in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

• Appointed Beer-Sheva coach in 2015, Barak Bakhar promptly steered the club to their first title in 40 years, then successfully defended that crown in 2016/17. A defender, he spent his playing heyday at Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, whom he later coached.

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