Bayern and Arsenal face off in Tel Aviv Saturday night in a headline battle to fill the Top 8 spots in the local Ghetton League.
Arsenal is the team to beat; with a win it can join Group A leader Sporting Lisboa, which qualified for the so-called Champions League group last weekend. But the German team finally looks as impressive as it did in the last Mundial TLV.
Arsenal's expected lineup is Dani Khordian, M. Galante, Joe Galante, Mog Mordakhai and Yuri Arazi. Arsenal coach Raffi Rubin will have to manage with only five players available due to injuries. Bayern captain Emanuel Heymann says he is confident.
"The morale of Bayern's players is really high. We haven't trained in the last two weeks due to the conflict, but this makes us even hungrier for victory," he said. "Our new goalkeeper Ardon Wesly, recruited from Holland, seems to have adapted quickly to the team and to the German winning mentality."
Roma-Tottenham will probably determine who will be the third power of Group B, a team that could reach the Top 8.
"We are confident about victory, even if we'll have to make some adjustments in our lineup," said Daniele Moscati, Roma's captain. Moscati said he is not sure if Yossi Kedem will be ready to play, though the team is strong enough to replace him if necessary. "Obviously he's a top player, and it won't be that easy for us," he added.
Chelsea-Ajax will be the last chance for the Dutch team in the current phase; Chelsea is simply too powerful for its Group B opponents and probably the best team in the first phase in any group.
Group C, meanwhile, features Milan vs. Boca.
"We are training regularly once a week and improving our team spirit. We all come from different backgrounds and are still getting to know each other," Milan's manager Yigal Halwani said.
"We still have to improve our attitude on the field, but if we don't qualify for the Champions League we'll be more than happy to compete for the Europa League. We'll definitely have some good chances to make [the game] ours."
Boca Juniors almost pulled off a miracle last week against leading Manchester City, but the team is still looking for its first win. Its lineup for tomorrow is Maisto, Picciotto, J. Journo, D. Journo, Uzzan, Volterra, Del Monte and Bendaud. Manager Arik Bendaud and captain Raphael Uzzan say they are looking forward to their first three points.
Manchester City-Barcelona is a very interesting match between two very organized teams. The difference could be that Barcelona still lacks a killer instinct, which it will need to knock off first-place City.