Ahead of Southampton's trip to Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the UEFA Europa League, we got the lowdown on the Israeli side from reporter Benny Glowinsky.
How have Hapoel Be’er Sheva started the season?
As you probably know, Hapoel Be'er Sheva beat Inter in Italy. In the Israeli league, last season they were crowned champions after 40 years. They started this season with three victories, one draw and one loss (to Maccabi Haifa). Currently Be'er Sheva are in third place, six points behind Maccabi Tel Aviv, but with a game in hand.
What is the team’s style of play like?
The manager, Barak Bakhar, switches formations regularly. In certain matches they play with three at the back and with two wing-backs. Also, they like to attack from the wings.
Who would you say are the team’s best players?
The captain Elyaniv Barda was voted player of the season in '15-'16, but he's picked up an injury and won't play. 27-year-old Nigerian winger Anthony Nwakaeme has been their best player since the beginning of the season, along with compatriot John Ogu. Centre-back Miguel Vitor turned out to be a great purchase. Playmaker Maor Melikson is the creative force.
How important is the Europa League to the club?
Bakhar tries to rotate his squad in all competitions. The Europa League is highly important to Be'er Sheva, especially after the 2:0 victory at Giuseppe Meazza.
How do you think they will approach the game against Southampton?
After the defeat in Haifa, they won 3-0 at Bnei Yehuda on Sunday and the mood is good again. After the Inter game Bakhar said that 'he wants to beat Southampton'. So this is their aim.
What do you think Hapoel Be’er Sheva’s chances are against Southampton?
It's hard to say. I was very impressed by the win at West Ham United. I would say 50-50.
Benny Glowinsky is a reporter for one.co.il.