Hapoel Tel-Aviv v Zeljeznicar Preview
Hapoel Tel-Aviv will start its quest to join the UEFA Champions League group stages tomorrow night against Bosnian side Zeljeznicar. While Hapoel won its last three friendly games, they still received arguably the toughest possible draw of the second round. Hapoel has had an interesting off season. They have added several new players including attacking midfielder Yossi Shivhon, central defender Bevan Fransman, and midfielder Romain Rocchi. Hapoel also signed Ghanaian midfielder William Hazo, and goalkeeper Galil Ben-Shanan. Of these five players, it is likely that only Yossi Shivhon will start. Hapoel managed to retain its core of players that brought it the championship in Israel. It is almost certain that goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama will be leaving after his fantastic showing in the world cup. Hapoel already received an offer from FC Porto for one million Euros, but they rejected it. Other than Enyeama it appears that Hapoel will prove to be an even better team this season. Their opponents Zeljeznicar, are the Bosnian Champions and are based out of the city of Sarajevo. Their coach Amar Osim, who is the son of legendary coach Ivica Osim, had many complimentary things to say about Hapoel Tel-Aviv in a press conference held earlier today. However, the Bosnian club should not be underestimated, and I’m sure Hapoel coach Eli Guttman will have his troops ready and motivated. Zeljeznicar’s most notable player of late has been the prolific Edin Dzeko, so Hapoel should be prepared for a tough physical game. Zeljeznicar has won three titles since the end of the Bosnian War, so they are a club with some history. Hapoel are the better team on paper and should win the game, but stranger things have happened.