AZ Alkmaar can seal their place in the next round of the Europa League when they host Maccabi Haifa at the AFAS Stadion on Thursday.

  • By Michael Bell
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az azDick Advocaat’s side currently sit 2nd in Group L, level on points with leaders PAOK, and six points ahead of Maccabi Haifa with only two games left. A point for AZ on Thursday will seal their place in the knockout stages.

AZ are unbeaten in Europe so far this season, and beat Maccabi Haifa 1-0 in the reverse fixture back in September thanks to a goal from Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Opponents Maccabi are yet to record a win in the Europa League, after two draws and two defeats, leaving their chances of qualification slim. The Israeli’s have won their last two league matches, but before that went through 12 games with only one victory.

After drawing 2-2 with Roda JC on Saturday, despite going down to nine men, AZ currently sit 2nd in the Eredivisie and are unbeaten in their last eight matches.

Advocaat is set to name an unchanged side for Thursday’s tie, while Maccabi coach Arik Benado has stated he may make a few changes to the side that beat Hapoel tel Aviv on Sunday, due to them having to play three times in 11 days.

Potential line-ups:

AZ Alkmaar- Alvarado, Johansson, Viergever, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Martens, Ortiz, Gudelj, Gudmundsson, Beerens, Johannsson

Maccabi Haifa- Saranov, Meshumar, Cocalic, Falach, Rayo, Yadin, Tawatha, Abuhatzira, Katan, Ndlovu, Turegeman

Maccabi Haifa dominated the Dutch side in Israel, but AZ came away with a win after a great defensive performance. However at the AFAS stadion, AZ are in great form, and should prove too strong for Maccabi.

A win tomorrow, and AZ can look forward to a showdown with PAOK in the final group game to decide which side finishes top of the group.

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