AZ Alkmaar will look to put their heavy defeat to Zenit st Petersburg and get their Europa League campaign back on track when Maccabi Tel-Aviv visit the AFAS Stadion on Thursday.

az-go-aheadAZ have been a disappointment in Europe so far, drawing their opening game of the group stages against Dundalk before going down 5-0 to Zenit st Petersburg in Russia. John van den Brom’s side now host Maccabi Tel Aviv in a game they must win if they are to realistically have a chance of reaching the next round. However, their league form doesn’t give them much confidence going into the tie, with AZ without a win in their last three matches, stuttering to draws against Go Ahead Eagles and Sparta Rotterdam in that time.

Van den Brom told the press on Wednesday that his side have to go for the win, “It is all or nothing. We’re going to try to take the initiative.”

Opponents Maccabi Tel Aviv, who are coached by former AZ striker Shota Arveladze, currently sit bottom of the Europa League group having lost both their opening games, but they sit top of the Israeli league with five wins and a draw in their opening six ties.

AZ team news

AZ will be without Ron Vlaar, who is struggling with a calf injury, while winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh will sit out the match in fear he may encounter problems in his homeland of Iran for facing an Israeli side.

Possible AZ line-up: Rochet, Johannsson, Haps, Luckassen, van Eijden, Wuytens, Rienstra, Bel Hassani, Dos Santos, Tankovic, Weghorst

Do or die for AZ

AZ need nothing more than a victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv to keep their hopes alive and they must attack the Israeli side from the start. Van den Brom’s side have been wasteful in front of goal on too many occasions this season and they will need Weghorst and Dos Santos to be in fine form if they are to record a victory. Weghorst has been hit and miss since joining in the summer but Thursday could be his chance to make his mark.




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