What can Dundalk expect from Maccabi Tel Aviv?

They take on the record champions of Israel in the Europa League on Thursday

Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv players celebrate their team's third goal agains Zenit during UEFA Europa League Group D soccer match in Netanya, Israel,Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 . (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

After picking up an excellent draw away from home against AZ Alkmaar in their Europa League group stage opener, Dundalk host Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday.

Maccabi are the record Israeli champions, winning 21 titles and finishing runner's up last season. They opened their group campaign with a 4-3 defeat at home to Russia's Zenit St Petersburg.

But what can Dundalk expect against Thursday's opponents?

 Recent form

Aside from that opening defeat to a strong Zenit side in Europe, Maccabi are unbeaten domestically, with five wins and a draw from their six league games.

Defensively, it's been three league matches since they have conceded a goal, with 3-0, 5-0 and 3-0 results from their past three matches.

They top the Israeli league after six rounds with 16 points and 18 goals scored.

Individuals

Israel international forward Tal Ben Haim has been prolific with eight leagues goals in five appearances, as well as another two in Europe already.

There is another Tal Ben Haim playing for the club too, who is well known to Premier League audiences. The 34-year-old centre-back spent a decade in the Premier League with the likes of Bolton, Chelsea, Manchester City and Portsmouth.

Ex-West Ham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun is an experienced member of the squad at 36 and with almost 100 international caps.

 European pedigree

As a club, Maccabi are very experienced at this level, having made two group stage appearances in the Champions League era, including last season, where they lost six from six in a tough group featuring Chelsea, Dynamo Kyiv and Porto, scoring once and conceding 16.