Maccabi Haifa, Fiorentina’s next opponents

In the championship, the team coached by Dego, who beat Juve in the Champions League last year in the home match, shares the top spot with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Lorenzo Topello

The Nyon urn sent Maccabi Haifa on the path to Fiorentina. Perhaps among the most desirable of the possible opponents present in the ballot box, even if there will be pitfalls. Of course, the Israelis cannot play the European matches at home for understandable reasons (the Conference playoffs were played in Budapest). But they don’t leave anyone calm, especially after eliminating Gent in the play-off: the 1-0 in the first leg was fundamental, the 1-1 in Belgium in the return leg was precious, resisting the opponent’s siege. Maccabi Haifa, known very well by Juventus last year in the Champions League (won against the Bianconeri in the home match of the group), is trying to surprise everyone again in 2024 by moving forward on both fronts: in the championship they are resisting Maccabi Tel Aviv’s run-up , with which it shares the top spot with 49 points. The key word is defensive solidity: best defense in Israel, excellent sensations also evident in the double match against Gent. Scoring against Dego’s troop isn’t very easy.


Frantdzy Pierrot, or the striker with 12 goals this season. Born in ’95, at the height of his footballing maturity, he has sown goals everywhere starting from Mouscron, in Belgium, and continuing with the French Guingamp before arriving in Israel a year and a half ago. This season he has already scored 17 goals in 35 appearances. And he also cultivates this habit with Haiti, his own national team, of which he is the main attacking midfielder. Maccabi scored two goals in the 180 minutes against Gent: both bear his name.

HOW TO PLAY (4-3-3)

Kaiuf; Sundgren, Feingold, Seck, Gershon: Saief, Show, Mohamed; Khalaili, Pierrot, Rafaelov. All.: Dego.


Messay Dego, born in Addis Ababa but naturalized Israeli, witnessed the historic success over Juventus in the Champions League from the stands last year: he was in fact the coach of Maccabi’s Under 19 team. Since this summer he has instead been promoted to lead the first team.


Maccabi was placed in Group F of the Europa League with Villarreal and Rennes and relatively soon abandoned hopes of trying to get through to the round: they still achieved third place in the group ahead of the more highly rated Panathinaikos, despite having scored only 3 goals throughout the group stage. Then, in the playoffs, there was the success against Gent. Who knows, maybe it’s the start of Conference’s surprising journey.