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Maccabi Tel Aviv heads out for the Netherlands today, together with some 500 supporters who will watch the club in its UEFA Cup second-round, first-leg tie against Roda JC Kerkrade tomorrow.

Avi Nimni missed the club's training session yesterday, as he was suffering from flu, but will receive further treatment today in order to get him fit for the match. Baruch Dago also had a light workout yesterday, after suffering a knock to his ankle, and club doctor Mark Rosnowsky will have to work on both players over the next 24 hours.

Maccabi will have only one training session, today at 6 P.M. - the time of the game, and will return home the morning after the match on Wednesday.

Despite his illness, captain Nimni sounded optimistic ahead of the clash against the bottom team in the Dutch league. "This is an away game in European competition, so we will have to play carefully in order to allow us to win the tie at Bloomfield and to advance to the next stage. Clearly we will have to play in the same was as we did against Dinamo Zagreb in the last round, to get an away goal and not to make any mistakes. I believe we can beat Roda," he said.

Coach Nir Levin was a little more cautious. "Roda is a very strong side," he said, "despite the fact that it is currently placed at the bottom of the Dutch league. We will have to be very determined and focused in order to keep our place in Europe, but I believe that we can get a good result so as to complete the job at home," he said.

Roda to field attacking lineup

The home team will play with a very attacking lineup and the Dutch side hopes that the meeting with Maccabi will be a turning point for its very disappointing showing so far this season.

Coach George Leekens will hold his final training session with the club this morning, after which there will be a joint press conference with the coaches of both teams.

Leekens is looking to surprise Maccabi and will probably play with four attacking players, dispensing with one of his defensive midfielders.

Chelsea confirms trip

English side Chelsea yesterday confirmed its arrival to play Hapoel Tel Aviv in its UEFA Cup clash on Thursday.

Club chairman Ken Bates said that as of yesterday, all the players, except four, had confirmed their intention to travel here. They will arrive on Wednesday.

The four who were given special dispensation to consider their plans after consulting with their families are Marcel Desailly, Celestin Babayaro, Emanuel Petit and Giafranco Zola.

The blues from West London will be joined by some 500 supporters.