Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C.
|Full name||Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Maccabi, The yellow ones|
|Founded||1906 (as HaRishon LeZion-Yafo)|
|Ground||Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv|
|Head coach||Patrick van Leeuwen|
|League||Israeli Premier League|
|2020–21||Israeli Premier League, 2nd of 14|
|Departments of Maccabi Tel Aviv|
Founded in 1906 in Jaffa as the HaRishon Le Zion-Yafo Association, it is the oldest, and most decorated football club in Israel. With the establishment of the city of Tel Aviv in 1909, the club changed its name to Maccabi Tel Aviv. In 1922, it became the first Jewish football club to participate in local competitions. The meaning of the name Maccabi – 'there is no one like you among the gods' – forms an integral part of the character of the team, which took the Star of David as their logo to represent the Jewish people. Maccabi Tel Aviv have won more titles than any other Israeli club, winning 24 League Championships (17 after Israeli independence), 23 prestigious State Cups (16 after Israeli independence) and an additional seven Toto (League) Cups, as well as two Asian Champion Club Tournaments until Israel were expelled from the AFC in 1974.
Maccabi Tel Aviv is the only Israeli football team that have never been relegated from the Israeli Premier League and one of only three Israeli teams to ever progress to the UEFA Champions League group stage. The club is named after the Maccabees and invest a lot in the development and nurturing of young talent. The club's youth system operate football academies at three sites in the Tel Aviv area, working with over 750 children aged 6–15. The club also runs 17 youth teams with 400 players between 9 and 19 years old. These teams tend to compete very successfully in local and national leagues.
In the early 1920s, despite the absence of an organised league, Maccabi Tel Aviv were known as the strongest football team in the country and were invited to numerous friendly matches, even against British teams of the local Mandate. Official tournaments began taking place in 1928 with the establishment of the Football Association and FIFA's recognition of Israeli football. In 1929, the team won their first trophy after beating Maccabi Hashmonai Jerusalem 4–0. Maccabi took the championship again one year later with a 2–1 victory over the British Army's 48th regiment and a third in 1933, when Hapoel Tel Aviv were beaten, 1–0.
In 1936, the club was invited to play in the United States. On their way, Maccabi played in France, losing, 2–0, to Racing Paris and 3–1 to Lille. In the United States, Maccabi defeated the All-star team of New York City in front of 50,000 in Yankee Stadium. Maccabi also defeated the American Soccer League team in Brooklyn and Philadelphia on their home ground, 1–0, and also played in Canada, where they drew, 1–1, with Toronto All-Stars. Maccabi continued their tour in the US and lost, 3–2, to St. Louis Stars and the Boston Celtics.
After returning from the United States, Maccabi players went on strike because they had not been paid. In 1937, after a year of strike action, the Football Association accepted their demands and the team ended their strike. In that year, Maccabi Tel Aviv also won their first league title. In 1939, after the start of World War II, Maccabi won their second championship. At the end of the season, Maccabi went to another tour, this time to Australia where they were advertised as the "Palestine" team and occasionally the Maccabi Palestine team. They played 18 games, winning 11, losing 5 and drawing 2. The games were against State sides (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia), regional sides and five "tests" against the Australian national team, winning one, drawing one and losing three.
In 1941 Maccabi won their first "double", Winning both the league and State Cup, beating Hapoel Tel Aviv, 2–1, in the final. Between 1941 and 1945 the league was suspended because of the war, but Maccabi continued playing friendly matches. In 1946, the league was still suspended but the State Cup returned with Maccabi beating Hapoel Rishon LeZion, 6–0, on aggregate in the final. In 1947, the league resumed, and Maccabi won it, and also reached the cup final. In the match against Beitar Tel Aviv at the Hatikva Neighborhood Stadium Maccabi were winning, 3–2, when the referee disallowed a goal by Beitar. The Beitar players and their supporters stormed at the referee and Yom-Tov Mansherov, defender of Beitar Tel Aviv, snapped the Cup. As a result, the referee ended the game and Maccabi were awarded a technical victory, thus winning a second double. Forty-five years later the cup was found in Petah Tikva.
This decade is considered Maccabi Tel Aviv's "Golden Age", in which they won five championships and four Israel Football Association Cups. The "Golden Age" actually began with the establishment of the State of Israel, with Maccabi Tel Aviv winning the league title in the 1949–50 season. The deciding match of the season was the second Tel Aviv derby against Hapoel Tel Aviv, which Maccabi won, 1–0, thanks to a goal from striker Yosef "Yosale" Merimovich that sealed Maccabi Tel Aviv's first post-independence championship title. Merimovich was just one member of a squad of outstanding players that left Maccabi Tel Aviv unchallenged in their domination of the Israeli Premier League during the 1950s. That squad included the likes of defenders Itzhak Schneor and Eli Fuchs, goalkeeper Avraham Bandouri, striker Zvi Studinski and of course the club's legendary centre forward Yehoshua "Shiye" Glazer. Glazer, who won the top scorer title in 1952 with 27 goals, is considered Maccabi Tel Aviv's greatest ever striker and was the club's highest goal scorer until Avi Nimni broke his record in 2003.
The 1951–52 season was Maccabi's second league title after the establishment of the State, which they won by eight points ahead of Maccabi Petah Tikva, though they lost the IFA Cup final. That loss only inspired them to win an historic first double in the 1953–54 season, once again winning the league ahead of Maccabi Petah Tikva. That year's Cup final provided them with the opportunity to put in one of their most devastating performances, crushing their opponents Maccabi Netanya, 4–0, with a brace from Glazer and individual goals from Studinski and midfielder Israel Halivner.
It was the following season that the great Hapoel Petah Tikva team of midfielder Nahum Stelmach and associates burst on the scene and captured the championship from Maccabi Tel Aviv after a down to the wire finish. Still Maccabi Tel Aviv weren't prepared to surrender all the titles that season and came up trumps in a 3–1 victory over the same Hapoel Petah Tikva in the IFA Cup final. Maccabi went on to beat them to the title in two more seasons, 1955–56 and 1957–58, completing their fifth National Championship in the first decade of the modern state of Israel. That final season title was complemented by a double, with Maccabi beating Hapoel Haifa in the IFA Cup final, 2–0.
The following season Maccabi Tel Aviv won their second consecutive IFA Cup in a final that will be remembered as one of the most famous in the entire history of the competition. Maccabi appeared to be cruising to victory with a seemingly unassailable 4–0 lead just ten minutes from time. But within five of those final ten minutes Hapoel Petah Tikva pulled back three of those goals, guaranteeing one of the most exciting finales in IFA Cup history. But in the end Maccabi held on to celebrate yet another IFA Cup triumph.
Following the "Golden Years" of the 1950s, Maccabi Tel Aviv found themselves as the new decade began challenged and ultimately eclipsed by the emergent HaPoel Petach Tikva, who during the late 1950s and early 1960s won five consecutive league titles. The second of those championships, in 1960, came at Maccabi's expense, with the Yellows leading the table on the last day of the season only to disappointingly lose their final match to Hapoel Haifa thereby handing the championship to Hapoel Petah Tikva. The outstanding player of Maccabi's season had been Rafi Levi, one of the greatest strikers in the club's history, who was the league's leading goal scorer with 19 goals. A year later the Brazilian club Santos visited Israel, along with their legendary player, Pelé, for a friendly match against a side composed of the best players from both Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Petah Tikva. But even the combined forces of the two best clubs in the country were no match for the Brazilians, who won, 3–1.
After a number of unremarkable seasons, the 1960s saw the return of Maccabi Tel Aviv with one of their greatest coaches, Jerry Beit haLevi, who had served the club as a player in the 1930s and, with the exception of one year, managed the club for the ten years between 1947 and 1957. Under his guardianship Maccabi Tel Aviv slowly returned to form and in the 1963–64 season won the Israel Football Association Cup after a second replay against Hapoel Haifa, which Maccabi won, 2–1. The following season Maccabi Tel Aviv repeated the feat by exactly the same score, this time in a dramatic extra time victory over Bnei Yehuda that included goals by midfielders Moshe Asis and Rafi Baranes. In the 1966–67 season Maccabi added a third IFA Cup. This time the opponent in the final were city rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv whom Maccabi defeated by the very same 2–1 score line, with goals from midfielder Uri Kedmi and striker Rachamim Talbi.
While the Cup competition was held as scheduled that year, the league was interrupted by the Six-Day War and was extended into 1968. Now coached by Israel Halivner, Maccabi Tel Aviv won their first and only championship of the decade after a combined 60 match weeks, leading Hapoel Petah Tikva by three points at the top of the Israel Premier League table. But by far the most memorable event of the decade was Maccabi's success in the AFC Champions League in 1969, the first Israeli football club to win an international competition in the country's history. Now managed by former striking great Yossele Merimovich, Maccabi beat South Korean side Yangzee FC in extra time through a goal by striker Dror Bar Nur.
A less successful decade for Maccabi Tel Aviv perhaps, but the club still managed to win one championship and three Israel Football Association Cups. Among the great names of the decade were midfielder Nissim Bachar, defender Meir Nimni, defender Menachem "Miko" Bello, defender Tzvika Rosen, goalkeeper Haim Levin, midfielder Moshe Asis, striker Rafi Levi and midfielder Giora Spiegel.
By Maccabi Tel Aviv standards, the 1960s had not been a particularly successful decade. With the coming of the 1970s, all that was about to change. The very first year of the decade was a stellar indication of that change as the team, under the able leadership of the late David Schweitzer, won an historic double. The Israeli Football Association (IFA) Cup final was won with a 2–1 victory over Maccabi Netanya. The league title on the other hand was ensured only on goal difference, but one that was built in part upon one of the finest performances in the club's history, a 5–0 thrashing of city rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Tel Aviv derby. On a rainy day at the end of January 1970, 20,000 spectators saw Maccabi midfielder Giora Shpiegel score a hat-trick to lead his side to an unforgettable victory. But despite that defeat, Hapoel stayed neck-and-neck with Maccabi until the last week and it was Hapoel who found themselves in second place on goal difference when the season reached its conclusion.
The following season was a weak one for Maccabi Tel Aviv that saw them finish tenth in the league table. But just one year later they were fully back on track winning their second championship of the decade in the 1971–72 season. One of the stars of that season, and one of the greatest strikers in the club's history, was Dror Bar Nur, who scored 16 of the club's 45 goals in the league and added two more in other competitions.
Just four years later Maccabi Tel Aviv found themselves for the first time in a relegation battle, with the final week of the 1975–76 season seeing no less than nine clubs battling it out to stay in the upper tier. Maccabi beat Beitar Jerusalem, 2–0, with goals from strikers Rachamim Talbi and Benny Tabak, thus escaping what would have been the first drop in the club's history. In April of that same year, leaders of the English Football League First Division, Queens Park Rangers, arrived in Israel for a friendly to face a Maccabi Tel Aviv side bolstered by three of the Israeli Premier League's brightest stars of the time: Maccabi Netanya strikers Mordechai "Motaleh" Spiegler and Oded Machnes and Beitar Jerusalem midfielder Uri Malmilian. Maccabi won the match, 2–1, with goals from Malmilian and Spiegler.
A year later and once again Maccabi Tel Aviv went from near disaster to the league summit, securing in the 1976/77 season their second double of the decade. They won the title three points ahead of Maccabi Jaffa and with 47 goals, the highest number in the league. Striker Vicky Peretz finished as the league's leading goal scorer with 17 league goals and another five in IFA Cup competition. But it was Benny Tabak's lone goal against Beitar Tel Aviv in front of 30,000 spectators at Bloomfield Stadium that earned Maccabi the IFA Cup and their second double in the space of seven years.
Among the great Maccabi players of the time were strikers Benny Tabak and Vicky Peretz and the late Avi Cohen, who earned the nickname "Libero" (from the Italian, a fullback who is given freedom – libero – to roam from his position to play a role in offence as well) and is thought to be one of the greatest defenders in the history of Israeli football. One of his most memorable goals was in a 2–0 derby victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv in 1978, when the defender struck an absolutely unstoppable ball from the edge of the area straight into the opposition net. Vicky Peretz and Benny Tabak are remembered as two of the greatest strikers in the history of the club, with the former scoring 67 and the latter 121 goals in the yellow and blue jersey of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The 1980s saw a period of below par achievements for Maccabi Tel Aviv FC, earning the decade the nickname the "thin years". While adding two Israel Football Association (IFA) Cups to the trophy cabinet, the club remained without a league title throughout the decade. The first of the two consecutive IFA Cup triumphs, however, was won in dramatic fashion in a final against Maccabi Haifa in the 1986–87 season. While Maccabi Tel Aviv, third in the table, finished six places above their northern namesakes, the Cup final was a tight affair that ended, 3–3, after extra time and was decided in a penalty shoot-out. And it was striker Benny Tabak's final kick that saw Maccabi Tel Aviv lift their first IFA Cup in ten years.
The following season Maccabi Tel Aviv, now under the stewardship of Giora Spiegel, underwent their worst defeat in the club's history, a 0–10 rout suffered at the hands of that same Maccabi Haifa. Yet only three weeks later the club appeared in their second consecutive intriguing IFA Cup final, this time against their arch big city rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv. Despite the fresh memories of their lacklustre performance in Haifa the team succeeded in returning to form thanks to a wonderful goal by midfielder Mickey Cohen and yet another from Benny Tabak that led to a 2–1 victory and a second straight IFA Cup title.
Another memorable event of the 1980s occurred at the beginning of the decade, in a match against Beitar Jerusalem held at the YMCA Stadium in Jerusalem in the second matchweek of the 1981–82 season. The match referee Avraham Klein, of international reputation, disallowed a Beitar goal but the players continued to celebrate. Maccabi defender Menahem "Miko" Belo quickly resumed play, passed on to midfielder Moti Ivanir who found himself facing the Beitar keeper Yossi Mizrachi on his own. To the great ire of the local fans he scored the goal that would ultimately lead to a 1–2 Maccabi victory.
Despite the less than scintillating nature of Maccabi's performances throughout the decade, the club was blessed with a number of outstanding players, including Moti Ivanir, midfielder Alon Natan, goalkeeper Bonni Ginzburg and striker Eli Driks who succeeded in leaving their mark on the club's history. Ivanir, who made his maiden performance for Maccabi aged 16, scored 67 times playing for the club throughout the decade, with the exception of the two years he spent at Dutch side Roda JC Kerkrade. Alon Natan found the net 40 times before leaving the club for Bnei Yehuda at the end of the 1989–90 season. He was subsequently forced into retirement at age 23 due to injury.
Bonni Ginzburg protected the Maccabi goal from the beginning of the decade until the 1987–88 season. He earned himself a place on the national squad and two years later became the first Israeli goalkeeper to play abroad. Eli Driks, one of the club's all-time greatest strikers, came through the youth ranks at the beginning of the 1980s and began a successful career at the fulcrum of the Maccabi Tel Aviv attack that lasted 20 years.
After the considerably less than spectacular decade of the 1980s, a young head coach by the name of Avram Grant took over the reins at Maccabi Tel Aviv and brought with him a whole slew of young players that together brought about one of the most successful decades in the club's history. By the time the decade had reached its halfway point the team had already won an historic "double" along with two more championships, two State Cups and one Toto (League) Cup, to which two more would be added before the decade had drawn to a close. Within a matter of a few short years, the glow surrounding Maccabi Tel Aviv, which had dimmed somewhat in the 80s, had returned and once again the yellow and blue of Maccabi became the national colours of Israel's football culture.
It all started in the 1991–92 season, when by virtue of exceptional talent and quality attacking football under the leadership of Avraham Grant, Maccabi Tel Aviv won the league championship for the first time in thirteen years. What contributed to this talent was, among other things, the arrival at the club of the Russian national goalkeeper Alexander Ubarov, who in time became a real Maccabi Tel Aviv legend. With him arrived defender Alexander Polukarov, who also left an enduring mark at the club and together with midfielder Uri Malmilyan and the young midfielders Avi Nimni and Itzik Zohar returned Maccabi Tel Aviv to the top of Israeli football. In the 1992–93 season, after winning the Toto (League) Cup, this talented and successful group of young players of the 1990s got their first taste of victory in the prestigious State Cup after goals by Itsik Zohar and fellow midfielder Nir Klinger decided the final against arch rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv. But despite finishing an excellent season with 88 points, the league title, and hence an historic "double", remained beyond their grasp as Maccabi Haifa enjoyed a spectacular season that saw them play all 39 league matches without a loss and pip Maccabi Tel Aviv to the championship. But the following season Grant and his charges compensated for their disappointment when defender Alon Brumer's famous goal in Beer Sheva succeeded in returning the championship to Maccabi Tel Aviv in dramatic fashion.
At the end of the 1995 season the "Mofet" Group took control of Maccabi Tel Aviv and as a result of Avraham Grant's decision to leave the club, a new coach, Dror Kashtan, took over the reins for what would prove to be one of the best seasons in the club's history. Their chief rivals were once again Maccabi Haifa, and the team traveled to their Kiryat Eliezer Stadium for what will always be remembered as the must-win match of that season. As the players headed for the dressing room trailing 1–0 at half time, coach Kashtan controversially decided to return his players to await their Maccabi Haifa rivals on the pitch. In the second half, goals by striker Eli Dricks and midfielders Nir Klinger and Avi Nimni turned the match around, and that 1–3 victory not only handed Maccabi Tel Aviv the championship but also paved the way for the "double" after a 4–1 thrashing of Hapoel Rishon Lezion in the State Cup final.
With Israel's entrance into European football in 1992, Maccabi Tel Aviv also turned their attention to leaving their mark in this prestigious competition as well. The 1992–93 season marked the first time Maccabi Tel Aviv competed in UEFA Champions League qualifiers and in the first round they defeated the Maltese club Valletta but lost to Belgian side Club Brugge in the second round. In the 1994–95 season, Maccabi were knocked out in the second round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup by German side Werder Bremen on a 2–0 aggregate. The following season Maccabi once again tried their luck in the Champions League qualifiers and almost succeeded, but a 2–1 aggregate loss to the Swiss club Grasshopper handed the latter the keys to the group stages. In 1996, it was the powerful Turkish side Fenerbahçe that stood between Maccabi and the group stages and in the resultant UEFA Cup competition they encountered, and subsequently lost to, the Spanish club Tenerife. In the 1999–00 season, Maccabi got past Lithuanian opponents FBK Kaunas in the UEFA Cup qualifiers but then lost to French competitors Lens 4–3 on aggregate in round one.
In the 1990s Maccabi Tel Aviv were blessed with many talented players, among them defenders Amir Shelach and the Brumer brothers Gadi and Alon, midfielder Noam Shoham and strikers Meir Melika and Nir Sivilia. Leading the team into battle was the genius of captain Nir Klinger, the free-kick artistry of Itzik Zohar and perhaps the greatest player in Maccabi Tel Aviv's history, midfielder Avi Nimni. In 1997, the "Mofet" Group broke up and the club was taken over by Loni Herzikovich.
With a particularly attacking style of football promoted by head coach Nir Klinger, the second millennium got off to a very good start for Maccabi Tel Aviv, who won two consecutive coveted State Cups. The first came in the 2000–01 season, one that saw Maccabi finish just fourth in the table but with the highest number of goals of any club in the Israeli Premier League, 71. Particularly memorable was Maccabi's 7–0 demolition of Beitar Jerusalem towards the end of the season and the jaw-dropping total of 10 goals to just one reply against Hapoel Rishon Lezion in January of that same year. It was that exceptional attacking prowess that resulted in Maccabi's receiving the State Cup from the country's president after a 3–0 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva in the final.
The following season will largely be remembered for the tragic event that occurred on 26 January 2002 during a match against Beitar Jerusalem. Without a preceding incident, Maccabi defender Meni Levi suddenly collapsed in the middle of the pitch, picked himself up and then collapsed again. He received treatment on the pitch for quite a long time before being rushed to a hospital. The game, in the meantime, was not resumed. For a number of years Levi received treatment at the rehabilitation facility Beit Levinstein in Ra'anana but unfortunately was unable to recover and was returned to his family. Subsequently, the club decided to retire Levi's number twelve jersey entirely. As the year progressed the team succeeded in recovering from this tragic incident and ended the season with their second State Cup title in as many years. In the final, Maccabi Tel Aviv won a penalty shoot-out against that season's champion, Maccabi Haifa, after extra time saw the two sides locked in a goalless draw.
The following season Maccabi Tel Aviv won a dramatic league championship from title rivals Maccabi Haifa. On the eve of the last day of the season, head coach Nir Klinger's lads led the league table on goal difference alone. On the day itself Maccabi Haifa led 0–5 at half time against Ashdod while Maccabi were still looking for their first goal against Hapoel Petah Tikva. Only in the second half did they score the three goals (to no reply) that pushed their goal difference past Maccabi Haifa and brought the Championship plate back to the Maccabi Tel Aviv trophy cabinet.
Maccabi's most significant achievement of the decade came in the 2004–05 season when the team reached the group stages of the Champions League. In the play-off stages they beat the Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki and became Israel's second club, after Maccabi Haifa two years earlier, to reach the group stages. There they were drawn against three giants of European football, the German Bayern Munich, the Italian Juventus and the Dutch Ajax. Nonetheless Maccabi succeeded in finishing the group stage with a precious four points after beating Ajax and drawing with Juventus at home. Paradoxically they ended an unstable league season eighth in the table but once again came away with the State Cup after winning a penalty shoot-out in a final against Maccabi Herzliya that ended 2–2 after extra time.
After this third State Cup in five seasons, Maccabi's fortunes dipped drastically and other clubs took turns winning the league and the Cup. The 2005–06 season will be remembered in particular, earning the nickname "the Galacticos season", for a team that brought together the likes of Israeli international Eyal Berkovic, Croatian star Đovani Roso and Maccabi all-time great Avi Nimni. Despite the star-studded squad, Maccabi failed to translate that quality into winning form and ended the season in the bottom half of the table.
On 28 December 2007, during the 2007–08 season, the club was transferred to the hands of billionaire Alex Shnaider. Shnaider diverted large sums of money to the club, mainly for paying off debts and for developing the youth department. In 2008 alone, Shnaider invested nearly NIS₪40 million from his own money into the club. Overall, in just over a year's time, Shnaider had invested approximately US$20 million in the team.
On 3 August 2009, Shnaider passed the team on to another Canadian billionaire's hands, Mitchell Goldhar. This handover was done for no cost, but against a commitment to pay off the team's debts to Loni Herzkovitz.
In the 2010–11 season Maccabi enjoyed one moment of glory in Europe, beating a strong Greek Olympiacos side 1–0 in the home leg of the UEFA Europa League qualifiers. The victory sent Maccabi into the first round of the competition where, despite an exciting 4–3 victory in the home leg, Maccabi failed to surpass French giants Paris Saint-Germain after a 2–0 loss in the French capital. The following season Maccabi claimed a famous victory against Greek side Panathinaikos, beating them 3–0 at Bloomfield Stadium in the qualifying stages of the Europa League. It was a year Maccabi actually did succeed in reaching the group stage of the competition but collected just two points in a group that contained Turkish side Beşiktaş, the Ukrainians Dynamo Kyiv and the English Stoke City.
The 2012–13 season finally put an end to Maccabi Tel Aviv's bad fortunes in the league as they won their first championship in a decade. Under the stewardship of new Director of Football Jordi Cruyff and Spanish head coach Óscar García, Maccabi dominated the league and claimed the title by thirteen points ahead of their nearest rival. They finished the season with the league's highest goal total of 78 while conceding the fewest with just 30 goals conceded. Leading that attack was the league's highest goal scorer, striker Eliran Atar with 22, but he was joined by midfielder Maharan Radi with eight (plus eleven assists), young striker Mu'nas Dabbur with ten and Swedish striker Rade Prica (eight) and midfielder Eran Zahavi (seven) who both arrived at the club in the January transfer window. In defense the tone was set by Maccabi's two center halves, Eitan Tibi and the Spaniard Carlos García, backed up by the excellence of Maccabi Tel Aviv's Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama.
The 2013–14 season saw a change in the club's Coach Position with Paulo Sousa replacing Oscar Garcia, as well as several players leaving and new players arriving. Notably Vincent Enyeama left for Lille with Goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas joining between the posts, and Nikola Mitrović joining from Videoton. The team continued its success in the league and claimed another championship behind Eran Zahavi's goal scoring. The Team's main rivals this season were Hapoel Be'er Sheva who came in second. The team also enjoyed relative success in the UEFA Europa League as they advanced to the round of 32 after a difficult group stage, before ultimately being ousted by Basel.
The 2014–15 season was characterized by a difficult start. Operation Protective Edge meant that the qualifying games to the UEFA Champions League were held away from Israel, leading Maccabi to be ousted from both the Champions League and the Europa League. There was also a shake up at the coach position as Paulo Sousa left for Basel. Óscar García returned but left before the beginning of the season and was replaced by Pako Ayestarán. During the Tel Aviv Derby on 3 November 2014, a fan from Hapoel Tel Aviv broke onto the pitch with an intent to assault Maccabi Star Eran Zahavi who was shown a red card for defending himself. In the aftermath of the event, both teams had 1 point redacted and forfeited the match. However, this event didn't stop Maccabi Tel Aviv from being the first Israeli Team to win all three local Trophies: the Premier League, the State Cup and the Toto Cup. Notable new players in the team were Nosa Igiebor and Eden Ben Basat. The best player in the squad was still Eran Zahavi who broke the Israeli Record for consecutive scoring games and scored 27 goals throughout the season.
In the 2015–16 season, the team qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in 11 years. They were a member of Group G, along with Chelsea, Porto and Dynamo Kyiv. However, these three elite clubs proved to be too much for Maccabi Tel Aviv to handle, and they lost all 6 of their group stage matches, scoring just 1 goal while conceding 16. Maccabi were eliminated in the group stage of the Toto Cup AI. In the league, Maccabi's main rivals for the title were Hapoel Be'er Sheva. After a loss to Hapoel Be'er Sheva at Bloomfield Stadium thanks to two clinical goals from Elyaniv Barda and Maor Melikson, head coach Slavisa Jokanovic was signed by Fulham and replaced by Peter Bosz, who helped improve Maccabi's performances in the league. Be'er Sheva fell under huge pressure before the end of the season, which helped Maccabi fight back and get into the title race again. Maccabi managed to take advantage of Be'er Sheva's bad results, beating Beitar Jerusalem in a close and dramatic tie, where Eran Zahavi scored the winning goal for Maccabi in the 90th minute, breaking the goalscoring record of Nisim Elmaliah by scoring more than 31 goals in one league season. In the biggest game of the season, against Hapoel Be'er Sheva, a win would have brought Maccabi to 1st place because of their goal difference, while any other result would have left Hapoel Be'er Sheva alone at 1st place with a 3 points advantage and only 3 games to go. Maccabi tied the game 0-0, leaving Hapoel Be'er Sheva 3 points ahead of Maccabi and top of the league. Maccabi continued their bad form and dropped points again in their next game, this time against Hapoel Ra'anana, drawing 1-1, and the title came closer to Hapoel Be'er Sheva, who had a 5 points advantage with only 2 games to go. The last game of the league season was a rollercoaster of emotions for Maccabi fans who were hoping for Be'er Sheva to lose against Sakhnin, and who needed to defeat Maccabi Haifa to win the championship. Sakhnin took the lead after 6 minutes, however Be'er Sheva responded quickly and got a goal after only 10 minutes. At that stage, Be'er Sheva were champions as Maccabi kept on searching for a goal, which finally came when Eran Zahavi scored, which meant Maccabi were the champions at the time. 12 minutes after Maccabi's goal, Be'er Sheva went 2-1 up. Maccabi got a 6–0 lead over Haifa, but were unable to win the title, as Be'er Sheva had scored a third goal and became champions. The State Cup Final was Maccabi's last chance to win a trophy this season, and they faced Maccabi Haifa in the final. However, Haifa defeated Maccabi 1-0 and won their first cup in 18 years, which caused Peter Bosz to be released to Ajax as Maccabi had finished with no trophies. The 2015–16 season was called "the worst year in Jordi's Era". Eran Zahavi, Maccabi's star player, was sold to Guangzhou R&F for 8.5 million dollars at the end of the season.
The following campaign Shota Arveladze was named Head Coach and successfully helped the Club advance to the Europa League Group stages where they played Zenit, Alkmaar and Dundalk. Over the course of the 2016/17 season Maccabi defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 5:0 which tied the biggest Derby victory set in 1969/70. Arveladze left the Club midway through the campaign and was replaced by Angolan Lito Vidigal as the squad ended the season in 2nd place while falling in the Cup Final.
Jordi Cruyff was appointed Head Coach for the 2017–18 season as the Sport Director moved down to the sidelines in his 6th season with the Yellow & Blue. The Club advanced to the Europa League Group Stage for the second straight season where they faced Astana, Slavia Prague and Villarreal, defeating the La Liga side in Spain 1:0. Maccabi captured the Toto Cup while finishing in second place in league play.
Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt partner|
|2014–15||UNICEF (from May 2015)|
|2006–07||Chevrolet (2006)/Sony Bravia (2006–07)|
|1990–91||First International Bank of Israel|
Last updated: 27 May 2015
Source: F.C. Maccabi Tel Aviv Official Website
Supporters and rivals
Maccabi's main rivals are Hapoel Tel Aviv. The matches between the teams gain a lot of attention in the Israeli public and are referred to as the "Big Tel Aviv derby" (as opposed to the "Small Tel Aviv derby", matches between Bnei Yehuda and Maccabi or Hapoel). Another strong rivals is Maccabi Haifa, because they are the two most successful Israeli soccer clubs (something called "the Israeli Classico" and "the derby of Israel") competing on the hegemony of Maccabi as well as Israeli soccer in general. Other rivalries include, to a lesser extent, those with Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Be'er Sheva.
A survey conducted in March 2012 by Yedioth showed that Maccabi Tel Aviv was the second most popular team among Israeli football fans (23%). The same survey revealed that 33% of Tel Aviv residents support the team.
Stadium and training ground
The Maccabi Tel Aviv Training Ground is located in south Tel Aviv, near the Holon Intersection and on the outskirts of the Kiryat Shalom neighbourhood. The various Maccabi Tel Aviv teams began practicing at the complex in the mid 1970s, starting with the Youth Division teams, and joined later by the senior team. The facility consists of four pitches that serve all the Maccabi Tel Aviv teams and includes two gyms, treatment rooms and classrooms. The senior team practice at the western facility, near the locker rooms, on an area one and a half times larger than a regular football pitch, with renovated terraces that seat approximately 100 fans.
Not far from the senior team's training ground is a synthetic pitch, one of the first of its kind in Israel, which serves as the training ground for all the teams in the Maccabi Tel Aviv Youth Division. At the northern end of the complex is the central pitch of the Youth Division, lined by two terraces with a seating capacity of over 200 and equipped for television broadcasts. The central pitch is used primarily by the Maccabi Tel Aviv Under-19 squad, but the club's youth teams also make use of the facility. The fourth and smallest of the pitches is the eastern one, used mainly for training and frequently for matches of the children's teams. The Youth Division complex has ten dressing rooms, one of which is used by visiting teams and one extra room for the referees on match days. During the 2011–12 season an exercise room was also built on the ground for the use of the entire Youth Division.
2020–21 Israeli Premier League
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Maccabi Haifa||26||19||2||5||52||20||+32||59||Qualification for the Championship round|
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||26||17||7||2||48||21||+27||58|
|4||Ironi Kiryat Shmona||26||11||5||10||26||28||−2||38|
|5||Hapoel Be'er Sheva||26||9||10||7||31||29||+2||37|
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Matches won; 4) Goals scored; 5) Head-to-head points; 6) Head-to-head goal difference; 7) Head-to-head goals scored; 8) Play-off.
|1||Maccabi Haifa (C)||36||24||7||5||72||29||+43||79||Qualification for the Champions League first qualifying round||—||1–1||2–0||3–2||1–1||4–0|
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||36||21||12||3||65||33||+32||75||Qualification for the Europa Conference League second qualifying round||2–2||—||1–1||2–1||3–1||2–2|
|4||Hapoel Be'er Sheva||36||11||15||10||45||43||+2||48||1–1||1–1||1–2||—||2–0||3–2|
|5||Maccabi Petah Tikva||36||13||7||16||32||38||−6||46||1–2||0–3||1–3||0–0||—||2–0|
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Matches won; 4) Goals scored; 5) Head-to-head points; 6) Head-to-head goal difference; 7) Head-to-head goals scored; 8) Play-off.
- Since the 2020–21 Israel State Cup winners, Maccabi Tel Aviv, qualified for the Europa Conference League via league position, the last Europa Conference League berth was awarded to the fourth-placed team.
|11||Hapoel Tel Aviv||33||9||11||13||24||35||−11||38||0–2||0–0||2–2|
|13||Bnei Yehuda (R)||33||8||9||16||27||46||−19||33||Relegation to Liga Leumit||1–2||2–3||1–0|
|14||Hapoel Kfar Saba (R)||33||6||6||21||26||49||−23||24||0–1||1–2||1–2|
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Matches won; 4) Goals scored; 5) Head-to-head points; 6) Head-to-head goal difference; 7) Head-to-head goals scored; 8) Play-off.
2020–21 UEFA Europa League
|1||Villarreal||6||5||1||0||17||5||+12||16||Advance to knockout phase||—||4–0||5–3||3–0|
|2||Maccabi Tel Aviv||6||3||2||1||6||7||−1||11||1–1||—||1–0||1–0|
- The Villarreal v Qarabağ match was awarded as a 3–0 win to Villarreal after being cancelled as several players of the Qarabağ squad tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2.
Out on loan
Only up to Six non-Israeli nationals can be in an Israeli club squad (only five can play at the same time). Those with Jewish ancestry, married to an Israeli or have played in Israel for an extended period of time, can claim a passport or permanent residency which would allow them to play with Israeli status.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Season by season
- x – Wasn't held \ wasn't finished.
- (—) — Did not compete.
- Italic — Still competing.
- Israeli championships
- Winners (23): 1935–36, 1936–37, 1941–42, 1946–47, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1953–54, 1955–56, 1957–58, 1966–68, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1991–92, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2002–03, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2018–19, 2019–20
- Runners-up (12): 1954–55, 1959–60, 1965–66, 1968–69, 1973–74, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
- Tel Aviv District Championship
- State Cup
- Winners (24): 1929, 1930, 1933, 1941, 1946, 1947, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1969–70, 1976–77, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1993–94, 1995–96, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2014–15, 2020–21
- Runners-up (13): 1934, 1938, 1940, 1951–52, 1961–62, 1975–76, 1978–79, 1982–83, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1996–97, 2015–16, 2016–17
- Asian Champion Club Tournament
- Toto Cup
- Israeli Supercup
- Lilian Cup
- Winners (2): 1985–86, 1986–87
- Seasons in top division – 69 (1949–present), (only team that has never been relegated)
- Lowest league position – 12 (1987–88)
- Double seasons – 7 (1946–47, 1953–54, 1957–58, 1969–1970, 1976–77, 1995–96, 2014–15)
- Invincible seasons – 2 (1953–54, 1957–58), (no losses in the league and the State Cup)
- Biggest 'undefeated' streak in the league – 44 matches (11/10/51 – 03/05/55)
- Biggest 'undefeated away matches' streak in the league – 34 (07/16/49 – 03/05/55)
- Win record for season – 30 (1966–68)
- Loss record for season – 14 (2007–08, 2011–12)
- Most points in a season – 89 (2018–2019)
- Most 'league goals for' in a season (club) – 103 (1949–50)
- Most 'league goals against' in a season (club) – 53 (1990–91)
- Lowest number of 'league goals against' in a season (club) – 10 (2019–20)
- Most league goals differential in a season (club) – 85 (1949–50), (103–18)
- All time League goals – 3114 (since 1948)
- Biggest 'no goals against' streak in league matches – 730 minutes (2014–15)
- Biggest 'league matches won' streak since season start – 11 (1993–94)
- Highest point lead above runner-up in the end of the season – 31 (2018–19)
- Most goals in a season (player) – 35, Eran Zahavi, 2015–16
- Biggest win – 13–0 vs Maccabi Rishon LeZion, 1950
- Biggest defeat – 10–0 vs Maccabi Haifa, 1988
- Biggest home win – 13–0 vs Maccabi Rishon LeZion, 1950
- Biggest home defeat – 4–0 vs Hapoel Acre, 2006
- Biggest away win – 7–0 vs Hapoel Haifa, 1994
- Biggest away defeat – 10–0 vs Maccabi Haifa, 1988
- Biggest win in UEFA Competitions – 6–0 vs FK Žalgiris (2001) and Željezničar (2011)
- Biggest defeat in UEFA Competitions – 5–1 vs Bayern Munich (2004) and Beşiktaş (2011)
- All-time top scorer – Avi Nimni, 174
- All-time most appearances – Menachem Bello, 498
Last updated: 14 June 2017
First team staff
Last updated: 14 June 2017
Last updated: 29 November 2016
Last updated: 18 August 2015
Last updated: 18 August 2015
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- "Ligat ha'AL 2020/2021". Soccerway. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
- "Ligat ha'AL 2020/2021". Soccerway. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
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- Archived 3 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- No national championship was held; the Tel Aviv district league was won by Maccabi Tel Aviv, that of Jerusalem by British Police; the champions of Haifa are not known.
- Israel – List of Cup Finals RSSSF
- Israeli Super Cup winners RSSSF