The odds are against Hapoel Beer-Sheva as they host Celtic in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off tie.
• Hapoel Beer-Sheva were beaten 5-2 at Celtic Park on 17 August, Leigh Griffiths scoring twice for the hosts before the break. It was Beer-Sheva’s maiden encounter with Scottish opponents.
• The Israeli club thus require a three-goal win or greater to progress to the group stage. Their biggest victory in UEFA competition is a 2-0 success against SK Tirana in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup preliminary round.
• Celtic’s record in five games against Israeli teams is W4 D0 L1 (W3 D0 L0 at home – W1 D0 L1 away).
• Celtic eliminated Lincoln and Astana to reach the play-offs.
• Celtic’s record in five UEFA Champions League play-offs is W2 L3. The wins were against Shakhtar Karagandy (2013/14) and Helsingborg (2012/13); the defeats came against Malmö (2015/16), Maribor (2014/15) and Arsenal (2009/10).
• Hapoel Beer-Sheva knocked out Sheriff and Olympiacos in the second and third qualifying rounds respectively.
• This is the Camels’ first UEFA Champions League campaign; they claimed their third Israeli title – and first since 1975/76 – last season.
Team and coach links
• Celtic boast Israeli talent in the form of midfielder Nir Biton, who joined them from Ashdod in August 2013. He is the third Israeli international to represent Celtic following Eyal Berkovic and Beram Kayal.
• Celtic’s Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose also played in Israel with Ashdod from June 2010 to August 2012.
• Beer-Sheva defender Shir Tzedek turns 27 on 22 August, the eve of the Celtic second leg.
• Griffiths is the joint-top scorer in UEFA Champions League qualifying this term. His five-goal tally is matched by Andreas Cornelius (København), Nemanja Nikolić (Legia Warszawa) and David McMillan (Dundalk).
• Celtic’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers specialised as a youth coach after a knee condition ended his playing career. He led Chelsea’s youngsters during José Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, then took over at Watford, Reading and Swansea City before managing Liverpool from June 2012 to October 2015.
• A defender for Hakoah Ramat Gan and Hapoel Petach-Tikva, Barak Bakhar moved from playing to coaching in the midst of an 11-year stint at Ironi Kiryat Shmona. He switched to Beer-Sheva in 2015, steering them to the title in his first season at the helm.
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