Feyenoord host Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva on Thursday looking to take a big step towards the Europa League group stages. Kick-off in Rotterdam is at 6.30pm BST.

Feyenoord are determined to have a good run in Europe this season and they easily overcame Dinamo Tbilisi 5-1 on aggregate in the last round.

Now, Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva stand between Jaap Stam’s side and the group stages.

Stam is expecting a tough opponent on Thursday, who will look for counter attacks, “They have technically skilled players and are waiting for countering moments. We must be very keen on that. We must prepare well and believe in our own abilities.”

Feyenoord go into the game on the back of their third straight draw in the Eredivisie with Utrecht taking a point away from De Kuip at the weekend.

Opponents Hapoel Beer Sheva made a name for themselves in this competition two years ago when they defeated Inter Milan home and away in the group stages.

However, they have since been struggling to replicate that form and finished third in the league last year. They booked their place against Feyenoord by defeating Karait and then Norrkoping in the last round.

At the weekend, Hapoel Beer Sheva were defeated 3-1 by Beitar Jerusalem in the Toto cup. Their league campaign is not yet underway.

Team News

Stam is still without Nicolai Jorgensen, Jens Toornstra, Dylan Vente and Sven van Beek.

Leroy Fer is fit to start though while Sam Larsson should also play despite being substituted at half time at the weekend.

Possible Feyenoord line-up: Vermeer, Karsdorp, Haps, Ie, Botteghin, Tapia, Fer, Kelly, Larsson, Narsingh, Berghuis

Hapoel Beer Sheva have Nigel Hasselbaink in their squad and the former PSV and Excelsior striker should start. Former Willem II winger Ben Sahar should also feature.

Possible Hapoel Beer Sheva line-up: Setkus, Bitton, Taha, Goldberg, Biton, Kabha, Safouri, Shamir, Keltjens, Sahar, Hasselbaink

Odds

Feyenoord 2/5 Draw 10/3 Hapoel Beer Sheva 15/2

What to expect from the first-leg

Hapoel Beer Sheva are a difficult opponent for Feyenoord even though they are not as strong as the side that defeated Inter Milan two years ago.

Feyenoord have struggled for form in defence and attack so far this season and Stam will be hoping his side can click into gear on Thursday.

Hapoel will look to sit deep and hit Feyenoord on the counter. The Rotterdam side need to be wary of this as a win and clean sheet will be crucial ahead of the second leg in Israel next week.

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