Maccabi Haifa seeks top-flight return

Maccabi Haifa seeks top-flight return

Maccabi Haifa is looking to step closer for a Champions League return with a win against Hamrun Spartans, who are aiming for the same thing. Maccabi is aiming for their fourth qualification in the Champions League, by earning an advantage here. However, it is also what Hamrun is aiming for, as they were banned from joining the contest for some reasons. This is only the first time that these two teams will meet, which makes this clash more exciting. This match is the first leg of the first qualifying round in the contest, making the two teams hungry to win. While Maccabi is looking to return in the Champions League, Hamrun is aiming to qualify for the first time. Their first meeting is on July 12, 2023, at 2:00 AM (GMT+8), as Hamrun host Maccabi.

Maccabi Haifa

Champions League Qualifiers: Maccabi Haifa
Photo courtesy of AFP

Maccabi is one of the most dominating squads in Israel, making them a scary team against their opponents. However, they are coming into this match from a 1-0 loss against St. Polten in their previous match in the friendlies. Although they lost in that match, they are actually doing well competitively. In fact, they had a comfortable 5-0 win against Hapoel Jerusalem way back in May domestically. Now that they are playing on the road, it seems like it is not a problem for them, as they are playing well in their away games. From their last five away competitive matches, four of which produced more than three goals. Maccabi are now aiming to qualify for the fourth time in the Champions League, which is already the best for an Israeli team. Their path is not easy though, as they need to navigate their way through the group stage.

Due to some important departures for Maccabi, there might be notable changes for them coming into this match. Guys like Erik Shunarov, Pierre Cornud, and Lior Refaelov are all expected to lead this squad.

Hamrun Spartans

Champions League qualifiers

Hamrun qualified in the Champions League qualifiers when they clinch the Maltese Premier League title domestically. However, ever since they won the title, Hamrun have yet to participate in a competitive match. Although that is the last competitive match they had, it gives them a boost here, winning in a 2-0 score line against Gudja. Moreover, they also won their friendly match against Birkirkara in a 2-0 victory, giving them a good momentum here. In their last six home matches across all contests, Hamrun were able to keep clean sheets. Moreover, playing at home is their advantage here, as they remain to be undefeated in their alst 16 home matches. 13 of those 16 games were won by Hamrun so expect this squad to play well here. However, they have yet to qualify in the Champions League, following their ban in 2021. This made them more eager to win in this match to inch closer to their goal.

Unlike their opponents, Hamrun has a lot of back-up players for this match, as many have stepped up for them. Uros Djuranovic, Hamrun’s latest signing could play here.

Prediction:

Maccabi Haifa (3.0)
Odds: -0.84

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