Preview: Young Boys vs. Maccabi Haifa

Preview: Young Boys vs. Maccabi Haifa

Young Boys will be looking to secure their place in the 2023-24 Champions League group stages when they take on Maccabi Haifa in the second leg of the playoffs at Stadion Wankdorf on Tuesday evening.

The first leg last week was a closely contested encounter that ended goalless with very few chances created, and both sides will be looking for a brisk start in this match in search of the first goal, which could prove to be crucial.

Young Boys returned to the top of the Swiss Super League last season after a third-placed finish in 2021-22, securing 74 points in their 36 league matches and beating Servette in second place by 16 points.

Over the course of the season, YB managed 21 wins, 11 draws and just four losses and were the highest-scoring team in the league by some distance with 82 goals, while the next closest was St. Gallen, who netted 66.

Raphael Wicky’s side have carried their good form into this season, as they are unbeaten in their first seven matches of the season in all competitions (W3 D3 L0) and have kept clean sheets in their last two.

However, they were arguably second-best in the first leg as they managed just 40% of possession across the 90 minutes and were unable to register a single shot on target in the match.

YB were not involved in the main draws of any European Cup competition last season as they failed to reach the group stages of the Europa Conference League after they were beaten by Anderlecht 3-1 in the playoff round.

Preview: Young Boys vs. Maccabi Haifa – prediction, team news, lineups

Meanwhile, the Israeli Premier League champions secured their third consecutive league title last season, ending the league playoffs with 81 points, seven clear of H. Beer Sheva in second place.

Up to this point of the competition, Maccabi Haifa overcame Hamrun Spartans 6-1 in the first round and went on to beat Sheriff 4-2 in round two before their 5-2 win over Slovan Bratislava in the last round.

Messay Dego’s side made it to the group stages of the Champions League last season but finished bottom of their group with three points in their six matches, though they did record a famous 2-0 win over Juventus on matchday four of the competition.

The visitors are yet to get their league campaign started this season but have already secured their first piece of silverware, beating Beitar Jerusalem 3-1 in the Israel Super Cup final at the end of last month.

They were the dominant side in the first leg, though they were unable to turn their dominance into a lead in the tie and are now the outsiders to qualify for the group stages, according to most bookmakers.

Young Boys Champions League form:

Young Boys form (all competitions):

Maccabi Haifa Champions League form:

We say: Young Boys 2-1 Maccabi Haifa
Both sides were determined not to concede in the first leg, but we expect them to take a few more risks in this match with a place in the Champions League groups stages now within touching distance. Young Boys have an excellent home record, and we fancy them to just about edge this one by the odd goal.

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