Hapoel Beer-Sheva have toiled for little reward on their European travels this season, and they simply cannot afford for that to be the case against Beşiktaş in Istanbul on Thursday.
• Level at half-time at their Turner Stadium on 16 February, Beer-Sheva’s grasp on this round of 32 tie was loosened by two second-half goals for Beşiktaş, including a 93rd-minute Atiba Hutchinson effort which capped the visitors’ 3-1 victory.
• The first leg was the clubs’ first meeting and Beer-Sheva’s maiden encounter with Turkish opposition.
• Beşiktaş are undefeated in five games against Israeli opponents: W3 D2 (W1 D1 in Turkey).
• Ominously for Beer-Sheva, Beşiktaş are also unbeaten in six European home matches – one win and five score draws, including four 1-1s.
• Beer-Sheva have won just one of their six European away games this season (W1 D3 L2), 2-0 at Inter Milan in the group stage.
• The nearest Beşiktaş have come to lifting a major European honour was reaching the UEFA Cup last eight in 2002/03 and the European Cup quarter-finals in 1986/87.
• This is by far the most successful of Beer-Sheva’s seven seasons in UEFA competition; indeed, this is their first springtime European tie.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Beer Sheva to Istanbul is around 1,200km.
• Beer-Sheva and Beşiktaş are among eight domestic champions involved in the round of 32, along with Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL), APOEL (CYP), København (DEN), Olympiacos (GRE), Legia Warszawa (POL) and Astra Giurgiu (ROU).
• Ricardo Quaresma should have fond memories of a past trip to Israel with Beşiktaş – he struck twice in a 3-2 success at Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the 2011/12 group stage. Beer-Sheva reserve keeper Guy Haimov was on the Maccabi bench, having been in goal for the reverse fixture when his side lost 5-1 in Istanbul.
• Beşiktaş’s Vincent Aboubakar and Beer-Sheva’s Maor Melikson were team-mates at French side Valenciennes (2012–13).
• Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş famously guided Turkey to third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. A goalkeeper who spent the majority of his playing career at home-town club Trabzonspor, he led Beşiktaş to the 2015/16 Turkish title in his first season in charge.
• Beer-Sheva boss Barak Bakhar steered the club to their first Israeli championship in 2015/16, his first term in the hot seat. He previously landed the 2013/14 Israeli Cup at the helm of Kiryat Shmona, where he spent the bulk of his playing days as a defender.
• Beşiktaş won their only previous UEFA penalty shoot-out:
W 5-4 H v Liverpool (2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32)
• Beer-Sheva have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.