The Europa League sees Maccabi Haifa host Villarreal at the Sammy Ofer Stadium this Thursday. Both sides sit outside of the qualification spots and need a win to really compete for a spot in the knock-out rounds.
Maccabi Haifa currently sit bottom of Group F after two games. With one draw and one loss, Maccabi Haifa are left on just one point, two points behind Villarreal and three points behind Panathinaikos in the final qualification spot.
In their last five games in all competitions, Maccabi Haifa have one win, two draws and one loss. Tal Ben Haim opened the scoring for M. Petach-Tikva but Lior Refaelov equalised for Maccabi Haifa before halftime. Anas Mahamid put M. Petach-Tikva back ahead but Dia Saba equalised once again, however, Idan Gorno scored in the 96th minute to give M. Petach-Tivka the 3 - 2 win. The first game in the Europa League for Maccabi Haifa was against Rennes. Ludovic Blas, Adrien Truffert and Bertug Yildirim all scored in the 3 - 0 win for Rennes.
Alexandru Paun opened the scoring for Bnei Sakhnin just before halftime, but Frantzdy Pierrot equalised for Maccabi Haifa in the added time of the first half. Despite having 65% of the possession and nine shots on target, the game finished 1 - 1. Their one win came against M. Netanya. Igor Zlatanovic opened the scoring for Netanya but a penalty from Tjaronn Chery levelled the game. Rachid Enrique Chirino Serrano put Netanya back ahead but Pierrot’s first goal meant that it was 2 - 2 at halftime. Pierrot’s second goal gave Maccabi Haifa the 3 - 2 win.
The last time out for Maccabi Haifa was in the Europa League. The match against Panathinaikos was a goalless draw where Panathinaikos were restricted to zero shots on target.
Villarreal sit just above Maccabi Haifa in third in Group F. The Spanish side have one win and one loss in two games, leaving them on three points, one point from Panathinaikos and three points from top of the group Rennes.
In their last five games in all competitions, Villarreal have two wins, one draw and two losses. Saul Coco and Marc Cardona both scored to give Las Palmas the 2 - 0 lead. Gerard Moreno scored in the 92nd minute but it wasn’t enough as Las Palmas won 2 - 1. Samu Omorodion opened the scoring for Alaves but a penalty from Moreno levelled the game. Despite having 69% of the possession, Villarreal couldn't find a way through as the game finished 1 - 1.
Moreno was on the scoresheet again with a brace this time and was joined by Alexander Sorloth in the 3 - 2 win over Granada. In the Copa del Rey, Manu Trigueros grabbed a hat-trick along with goals from Jorge Pascual and Alex Baena in the 5 - 0 win over Chiclana.
The most recent outing for Villarreal was against Athletic Club. Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta opened the scoring in the second minute and goals from Nico Williams and Inaki Williams gave Athletic Club the 3 - 0 lead going into halftime. Moreno and Sorloth both scored late on, but Villarreal was still on the losing side in a 3 - 2 loss.
Maccabi Haifa and Villarreal have never met professionally, but have vastly different records in Europe. The furthest Maccabi Haifa have reached is the Group Stage of the Champions League and the Group Stage of the Europa League whereas Villarreal have won the Europa League in the 2020/21 season and reached the Semi-finals of the Champions League in the 2021/22 season.