PREVIEW: WEEKEND ISRAELI ACTION
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona take on the Israeli defending champions while Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya will hope to continue their undefeated start against winless Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Hapoel Tel Aviv - Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona will look to continue their undefeated start to the season when they head south for a very difficult road game against Hapoel Tel Aviv on Saturday.
Gerzicich will once again be likely to start in central midfield where he has played every minute of Kiryat Shmona's three games this season.
Kiryat Shmona has earned seven points in their first three games of the season. In their last game, they overcame a sluggish start against Hapoel Petah Tikva and rallied for a 3-1 win.
While they were promoted only this past year, Kiryat Shmona have proven to be a team that can compete in the Israeli Premier League and could be the surprise team of the season.
Their offense has proven to be remarkably effective with a total of seven goals so far. It is lead by Elroy Cohen and Wiyam Amashe who have two goals apiece.
Cohen, the Israeli U21 international, scored twice and added an assist in the most recent game against Hapoel Petah Tikva.
Hapoel Tel Aviv enters the game with 1-1-1 record with four points total. In their most recent league game, they fought back from two goals down against Hapoel Acre on the road and rallied for a 2-2 draw with late goals from Victor Maree and Nigerian-born Israeli international Toto Tamuz who recently joined the club from Beitar Jerusalem.
As the defending champions of the Israel Premier League, Hapoel Tel Aviv have been playing in the UEFA Champions League where they have advanced to the group stage.
In their most recent match, they suffered a 2-0 defeat on the road to Benfica. They will play Olympique Lyon on Wednesday.
For Hapoel Tel Aviv, Toto Tamuz is questionable because of a muscle strain.
Kiryat Shmona is not reporting any major injuries.
Hapoel Petah Tikva - Maccabi Netanya
Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya will have a golden opportunity to pick up three road points and continue to emerge as a contender in the current Israeli season when they visit expected relegations contenders Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday.
Krupnik is expected to make his fourth start of the season where he has helped anchor a defense that has only allowed two goals thus far.
In Maccabi Netanya's most recent league game against Ashdod, they earned a 2-0 victory after picking up a pair of very late goals from Omer Perez and Orel Dgani. That win gave the coastal club its seventh point of the young season.
While Maccabi Netanya enter the game on the heels of impressive performances, Hapoel Petah Tikva enter the game with just one point from three games.
In their most recent game against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, they scored first on the road but were quickly overrun for a 3-1 loss.
Despite the poor start to the season, Hapoel Petah Tikva is enjoying exceptional play from Israeli U-21 international Dudu Biton who has scored three times this season and consistently been a dangerous attacker for the struggling club.
Hapoel Petah Tikva will be without defender Eyal Shen as well as Nigerian goalkeeper Austin Ejide due to a hand injury.
Maccabi Netanya will be without their starting central defender Mariano Caporale.
Ryan Adeleye will hope to make the bench and possibly see his first minutes of the season for Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC when they travel to take on Beitar Jerusalem on Saturday.
Maccabi Haifa midfielder Alexander Zahavi has been battling injuries in recent weeks but he will also hope to make the bench for the first time this season when travel to face Bnei Yehuda.