Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Both AZ Alkmaar and Maccabi Tel Aviv have yet to record a win in the Europa League group stages this season. The Dutch team dropped two points in a 1-1 draw with Dundalk in front of home fans and, as expected, they were beaten by Zenit in Russia. AZ face a must-win situation in Thursday’s football game against Maccabi Tel Aviv and there is every chance the hosts will go all-out attack in their third group match. Maccabi dropped a three-goal advantage in a 4-3 loss to Zenit and, against all odds, the Israeli team suffered a 1-0 loss to Dundalk at Tallaght Stadium. The visitors head into the match with the lack of confidence and that is the main reason why we predict AZ Alkmaar are going to record their first win in the 2016/2017 Europa League group stages. The two teams have never met before in European competitions.
Highlighted Player (Ron Vlaar):
Ron Vlaar is a professional football player who began his senior career at AZ Alkmaar. The right-footed defender made 10 appearances for the club between 2004 and 2006 and then he joined fellow Eredivisie club Feyenoord.
Vlaar made his Feyenoord debut on 15 January, 2006 against Vitesse and he was playing for de Trots van Zuid until July, 2012. The Dutch defender moved to England on 27 July, signing a three-year deal with Aston Villa. He made 27 league appearances for the Villans in the 2012/2013 Premier League campaign and he was named captain on 15 September, 2012. Ron Vlaar participated in the 2014/2015 FA Cup final, but Aston Villa were beaten by Arsenal in the title game.
In 2015 he returns to AZ Alkmaar and he has been playing for the Dutch team ever since. Speaking of his international career, Vlaar won the UEFA U21 Championship with Netherlands on two occasions (2006, 2007). In 2014 he won the bronze medal with the Oranje at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
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.