Lugano v Hapoel Beer-Sheva background
Wins are imperative for both Lugano and Hapoel Beer-Sheva as they seek to maintain their hopes of qualifying from UEFA Europa League Group G.
• The Swiss side, bottom of the table on three points, will be out unless they double that tally against Beer-Sheva. The visitors can also only guarantee their survival with a win – though their interest would be maintained if Viktoria Plzeň are simultaneously denied victory at home to FCSB.
• Beer-Sheva were 2-1 victors when the teams met in Israel on matchday one, home defender Shir Tzedek scoring at both ends in the second half after team-mate Daniel Einbinder had beaten the Lugano defence just two minutes into the contest.
• In their only previous tie against a Swiss team, Hapoel were eliminated by Thun in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, drawing 1-1 at home then losing 2-1 in Switzerland.
• Lugano have found the net at least once in their last ten European home fixtures. The only time they failed to was in their very first European tie, in the 1968/69 European Cup Winners’ Cup, when they lost 1-0 to Barcelona.
• Beer-Sheva are without a win in four European away fixtures (D1 L3). The only victory they have achieved on the road in the UEFA Europa League proper was 2-0 at Internazionale Milano on their group stage debut in 2016/17. Since then they have drawn two and lost three.
• Third in Switzerland last term, Lugano – from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton – have been absent from UEFA competition since 2002/03 and have never before featured in a group stage.
• Beaten on away goals by Maribor in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Beer-Sheva are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight season, having made it to the round of 32 on their debut appearance in 2016/17.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Beer Sheva to Lugano is around 2,750km.
• On-loan Lugano midfielder Bálint Vécsei played alongside Beer-Sheva defender Mihály Korhut in his only two Hungary appearances so far – friendlies against Albania (1-0) and Kazakhstan (3-0) in June 2014.
• Lugano’s Fabio Daprelà and Beer-Sheva’s Loai Taha are both suspended for this match after picking up three yellow cards in the group stage.
• Pierluigi Tami took charge of Lugano for a second time in June 2017, the Italian-born defender having spent his entire professional career in Switzerland. Notably, he assisted Ottmar Hitzfeld during his spell as national coach.
• Appointed Beer-Sheva boss in 2015, Barak Bakhar promptly steered the club to their first title in 40 years, then successfully defended that crown in 2016/17. A defender, he spent his playing heyday at Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, whom he later coached.