PREVIEW: WEEKEND ISRAELI ACTION
Bryan Gerzicich and first place Hapoel Kiryat Shmona will face a tough test when they travel to face fourth place Hapoel Haifa while Leo Krupnik and Maccabi Netanya look to rebound against Hapoel Ramat Gan.
Hapoel Haifa – Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Kiryat Shmona will look to continue their strong start to the season with a difficult road game on Saturday when they travel south to take on Haopel Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Gerzicich is once again likely to start in the central midfield on Saturday for the league leaders where he has played every minute for the club this season
Kiryat Shmona struggled in the most recent game before the international window where they needed a controversial penalty to defeat Hapoel Ramat Gan 1-0 at home.
Kiryat's Shmona have been led by forward Wiyam Amashe who currently leads the Israeli Premier league with five goals on the young season.
They have also earned a strong contribution from 21 year old midfielder Elroy Cohen whose play for Kiryat Shmona earned him his first two caps last week for the Israeli national team in their losses to Croatia and Greece in European Championship qualifying.
Cohen has consistently been involved in most of the plays that have resulted in goals for Kiryat Shmona.
Hapoel Haifa enters the game with nine points through the first five games of the season and that has them currently sitting in fourth place.
Hapoel Haifa however has struggled of late where they have dropped their last two games prior to the international break.
In their most recent game, they got a goal from 20 year old Alon Buzorgi but fell to Hapoel Acre on the road 2-1.
Hapoel Haifa is led by Serbian forward Saša Stojanović who has started all five games so far and scored three times.
The hosts will be without a pair of forwards. Eden Ben Basat will miss the match because of a suspension and Amir Abu Nil will also not take part.
Hapoel Kiryat Shmona will have a full squad on Saturday.
Hapoel Ramat Gan - Maccabi Netanya
Maccabi Netanya will be looking to rebound from their first loss of the season on Saturday when they travel to take on Haopel Ramat Gan at Winter Stadium.
American central defender Leo Krupnik is once again likely start for Maccabi Netanya where he has started every game so far this season.
In their most recent game, Maccabi Netanya fell to defending champions Haopel Tel Aviv 3-1 in a game where Netanya failed to capitalize on many first half scoring attempts and were overrun in the second half.
Despite that loss, Netanya still currently sit in fifth place with eight points through five games.
Maccabi Netanya boast a balanced offense where no single player has scored more than two goals and seven different players have scored. Orel Dgani, Achmad Saba'a, and Bamidele Yampolsky each have two goals on the season.
Hapoel Ramat Gan is still struggling to climb their way up the standings thanks to the Israeli Premier League imposing a four point deduction at the start of the season due to the discovery of irregularities in the club's finances.
Due to the penalty, they currently only have one point on the season.
Hapoel Ramat Gan have been playing better recently. Two weeks before the international break, the defeated Hapoel Acre at home 3-2.
In their most recent game, they played well on the road against league leaders Hapoel Kiryat Shmona but lost 1-0 after a controversial penalty was called against them.
Hapoel Ramat Gan are led by the Bulgarian duo of Dimitar Telkiyski and Krum Bibishkov who have combined scored four of the team's five goals this season.
For Hapoel Ramat Gan, midfielder Lidor Cohen is a questionable with an ankle sprain.
Hapoel Ramat Gan will also be without their head coach Shlomi Dora who was suspended by the league after being ejected in the second half of the last game against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona for persistent arguing following the questionable penalty.
Tamir Ben-Ami will be on the sidelines in place of Dora.
Maccabi Netanya are still unsure of the status of central defender Mariano Caporale who has been out of action for a month with a hamstring injury. He is questionable for Saturday.
American defender Ryan Adeleye will likely start the game on the bench for Hapoel Be'er Sheva FC on Sunday when they travel to face F.C. Ashdod at Yud-Alef Stadium. The New Jersey native has seen the field just once for Hapoel Be'er Sheva who currently sits in ninth place.