Maccabi Tel Aviv will open tomorrow (Thursday) with the game against Lasek Lynch as part of the Conference League (22:00, Sport 4), a collection of six games in 19 days. Next week, there will be a midweek round in the Premier League, and together with the games that are still ready for the team in Europe, the players will be burdened, which is a big challenge for Barak Yitzhaki, who is dealing with decisions that have to be made at a club that competes in several settings.
Itzhaki may not have thought he would come to tomorrow’s game against Austrian Lask while still coaching the team, but the reality is that it has been a month since the dismissal of Patrick van Leven and Mitch Goldhaar has not yet appointed a permanent coach, so Yitzhaki will continue tomorrow and maybe even as the team’s interim coach.
The team is very alert for tomorrow, as a win over Las Vegas Lynch will secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Conference League and will in fact eliminate the need for games in February against an opponent who will drop out of the Europa League. Players on the team testified yesterday that the game is very challenging for them and that they would like to feel a full stadium similar to the derby game that took the Premier League to a break where it has been for close to three weeks. The Maccabi Tel Aviv fans tomorrow’s game is not so exciting and it seems that there will be a maximum of 15,000 people in the stadium.
Yitzhaki is expected to make at least one change in the squad tomorrow, as Dan Glazer is not yet fully qualified and is in doubt for the game. It is likely that Yitzhaki will not want to endanger him and hence the coach is still undecided about the lineup with which he will open. Yitzhaki’s feeling is that the team played very well against Hapoel Tel Aviv and only suffered from bad luck, so it is possible that he will continue with a set of three brakes and give a lot of freedom to Andre Geralds and Enrique Sborit on the wings. At the same time, Maccabi Tel Aviv estimates that Lask is a stronger team than Hapoel Tel Aviv, so they have a difficult game. “The game against Lask is a test for our improvement,” a Maccabi Tel Aviv player stressed this morning. “We feel the team has been looking better for a month now and should bear fruit in a game so important to the club.”