Having battled all the way through from the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, Hapoel Beer-Sheva will hope their 13th European game of the season will not be unlucky as they host Beşiktaş.
• This is the clubs’ first meeting and Beer-Sheva’s maiden encounter with Turkish opponents.
• Beşiktaş are undefeated in four games against Israeli opponents: W2 D2 (W1 D1 in Israel).
• Beer-Sheva have lost only one of their last eight European home matches (W4 D3 L1), 1-0 against Sparta Praha in this season’s group stage.
• Beşiktaş are without a win in three European fixtures (D2 L1) and will look to erase the memory of a 6-0 loss at Dynamo Kyiv in their final UEFA match of 2016.
• This is by far the most successful of Beer-Sheva’s seven seasons in UEFA competition; this is their first springtime European encounter.
• The nearest Beşiktaş have come to winning a major European competition was reaching the UEFA Cup last eight in 2002/03 and the European Cup quarter-finals in 1986/87.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Istanbul to Beer Sheva 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 scored twice in a 3-2 win at Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the 2011/12 group stage. Beer-Sheva reserve keeper Guy Haimov was on the bench for Maccabi in that game and had 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).
• 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 coach Şenol Güneş famously guided Turkey to the bronze medal 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.