Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Lugano background
Hapoel Beer-Sheva will look to maintain their winning streak at Turner Stadium as Lugano make their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in Group G.
• This is the sides’ first meeting and Lugano’s first encounter with Israeli opposition.
• 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.
• Israeli champions Beer-Sheva have won all three of their European home games this season – in UEFA Champions League qualifying – scoring two goals in each: 2-1, 2-0, 2-1.
• In nine European away matches to date, Lugano have earned just one win (W1 D2 L6) and scored only two goals; however, that lone victory came at Internazionale Milano in a 1-0 second-leg success in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round.
• Beaten on away goals by Maribor in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Beer-Sheva are back in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight season, having made it to the round of 32 in 2016/17.
• Third in Switzerland last term, Lugano – from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton – have been absent from UEFA competition since 2003 and have yet to feature in a group stage.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Lugano to Beer Sheva 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.
• Appointed Beer-Sheva coach in 2015, Barak Bakhar promptly steered the club to their first title in 40 years, and successfully defended that crown in 2016/17. A defender, he spent his playing heyday at Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, whom he later coached.
• 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-team coach.