Maccabi Tel Aviv and Nice will lock horns for a spot in the Europa Conference League group stage over the next week, starting with Thursday’s qualifying playoff round first-leg tie at the Bloomfield Stadium.
Lucien Favre‘s side enter the third-tier tournament at this stage, while their Israeli hosts have seen off Zira and Aris Thessaloniki in the previous rounds to make it this far.
Maccabi and Aris’ second-leg encounter was certainly a bad-tempered affair, and Ivic will have to make do without the suspended Dan Glazer after he was sent off just before the hour mark in that 2-1 defeat.
A spot has therefore opened up in the engine room for Eyal Golasa to partner Joris van Overeem, while left-back Ofir Davidzada is still nursing a groin injury and should miss out.
Zahavi’s crucial contribution off the bench last time out should see Ivic consider him for a start over Djordje Jovanovic up front, while 35-year-old Sheran Yeini will captain the side from the backline.
Nice, on the other hand, have no continental suspensions to serve this week, but Kasper Dolberg and Hichem Boudaoui missed the draw with Strasbourg due to shoulder and back injuries respectively.
Lucas Da Cunha, Alexis Trouillet and Morgan Schneiderlin are not expected to be part of the group either, but it would have been a surprise to see any member of the trio start this contest.
The appropriately-named Rares Ilie was handed a rare start at the weekend, but Favre should consider swapping the 19-year-old Romanian out for Aaron Ramsey or Alexis Claude-Maurice this week.
Maccabi Tel Aviv possible starting lineup:
Peretz; Yeini, Saborit, Bitton; Geraldes, Van Overeem, Golasa, Hozez; Kuwas, Kanichowsky; Zahavi
Nice possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Lotomba, Todibo, Daniliuc, Bard; Claude-Maurice, Thuram, Rosario; Stengs, Delort, Gouiri
Under 3.5 Goals