Hapoel Beer Sheva midfielder, John Ogu, says his club is “not afraid to play any team” as they get ready to begin their Europa League campaign.
Ogu’s Israeli club would face former Romanian champions, Steaua Bucuresti; former Czech league winners, Victoria Plzen; and former Swiss cup winners, FC Lugano, in Group G of the European second tier competition. Hapoel Beer Sheva’s first game will be at home to Europa League debutantes, FC Lugano, on Thursday.
The Israeli Champions got to the round of 32 stage of the Europa League in 2016, emerging from a group that had Inter Milan and Southampton. The experience from last year gives the Nigerian more confidence about his team’s chances this season, although, he admits, things will be difficult.
“It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough,” the 29-year-old told Busybuddiesng.com, admitting in the process that “these are good sides.”
“I’ve played against them when I was in Portugal,” the former U.D. Leiria and Academica midfielder said of Victoria Plzen, as he compared the teams in the group. “Steaua Bucuresti is a big club but in this Europa League, in a group like this, it’s always good for you to come out on top in your home games, and when you go away you try to get points.”
The race for the Europa League title begins on Thursday with 48 teams, from 12 groups, in action. The final takes place on May 16, 2018, at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in France.