Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
After dropping two points in a 1-1 draw with Zorya in their opener, Gent will look to overtake Maccabi Tel Aviv in top position in Group B when the two teams face each other at KAA Gent Arena on Thursday. Gent failed to impress in a 1-1 draw with RWDM at the weekend, but the bookies still see them as favourites to win the Conference League clash. Pieter Gerkens limped off with injury in the last league match, with Andrew Hjulsager likely to step up.
The Israelis, on the other hand, recorded a hard-fought 3-2 win over Breidablik in their opener, but they will have a mountain to climb against Gent, who are a real force to be reckoned with at home. A man to keep an eye on in the visiting team will be former PSV striker Eran Zahavi, who found the net in a 2-0 win over Haopel Petah Tikva at the weekend, while Or Yitzhak remains on the sidelines with injury.
Highlighted Player (Sven Kums):
Belgian defender Sven Kums began his youth career at Dilbeek Sport and in 1996 he joined Anderlecht. Despite spending seven years at the club, he did not see any game action with the Belgian giants at senior level. After ending his loan spells with the likes of Lierse and Kortrijk, he signed a permanent deal with de Kerels in 2008.
The 176-cm-tall midfielder, who was born on 26 February, 1988, scored 12 goals in 116 league appearances for Kortrijk and in 2011 he moved to Netherlands, signing a contract with Heerenveen. In 2013 he returned to Belgium, joining Zulte Waregem.
In the summer of 2014 he moved to fellow Belgian outfit Gent and at the end of the 2015/2016 season he signed a loan deal with Udinese. Kums has 12 caps for Belgium U21 and it has to be noted that his father Ludo Kums is working as a coach at Anderlecht. Sven Kums is a centre midfielder, but he plays as both attacking midfielder and defensive midfielder as well.
Highlighted Team (Maccabi Tel Aviv):
Maccabi Tel Aviv are the oldest and probably the biggest clubs in Israel. The club was founded in 1906 and they have been playing an important role in the Israeli League ever since. In 2015 Maccabi won their 21st trophy in the national championship and the same season they clinched their 23rd Israeli Cup title.
The club’s fiercest rivals are Hapoel Tel-Aviv and they welcome their opponents at Netanya Stadium. The capacity of the venue is 13 610. The likes of Beitar Jerusalem Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Maccabi Haifa are considered Maccabi Tel Aviv’s bitter rivals as well. In 1969 the club won the AFC Champions League and they repeated the success two years later, beating Aliyat Al-Shorta in the final.
The likes of Jordi Cruyff, Paulo Sousa, Rade Prica, Moanes Dabour and Vincent Enyeama are the high-profile footballers who were part of the team in the past. The colour of Maccabi’s home kit is yellow and blue.