Tel-Aviv – Eintracht Frankfurt could seal qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League if they avoid defeat to Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC on Thursday evening (kick-off 19.00 CET).

Despite sitting fourth-bottom in the Bundesliga, the Eagles' are top of Group F with maximum points from three games and will be confident of recording yet another victory against the Israeli champions, who they beat 2-0 at the Commerzbank Arena two weeks ago.

Depleted squad


The Eagles have travelled to Israel with several key players missing, however. Tranquillo Barnetta is suffering from the flu and Sebastian Jung is still sidelined with the calf injury he picked up in training last week. Sebastian Rode is still short of match fitness, while Srdjan Lakic is likely to start in attack in place of top scorer Vaclav Kadlec.

Despite the number of absentees, head coach Armin Veh is determined to collect all three points in Israel. “We will try and win. We can achieve something fantastic for the club in the Europa League, that’s our incentive,” said the 52-year-old. “Whether we manage to do that with a completely different line-up is another question.

'We need self-belief'


Midfielder Stefan Aigner, meanwhile, is hoping his team-mates can bounce back from their defeat to VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 11. “We’re looking forward to the game and hope to gain some self-belief and a put in a good performance,” said the 26-year-old. “Perhaps our Europa League opponents aren’t as strong as in the Bundesliga, but you can only beat what’s in front of you.”

Aigner also refused to blame the Eagles' disappointing domestic form on their European schedule. “I don’t think the extra work load as a problem. It certainly isn't a valid excuse – we’re professionals,” he explained. A performance of the professional variety is likely to be enough for Frankfurt to seal qualification at the earliest opportunity. “It would be a shame if we failed to reach our goal having come his far,“ added Veh. “It would be brilliant if we managed it on Thursday.”

Possible line-ups:

Tel Aviv: Juan Pablo - Yeini, Tibi, Garcia, Ben Harush - Radi, Alberman, Mitrovic - Zahavi, Prica, Altman

Frankfurt: Trapp - Celozzi, Anderson, Zambrano, Djakpa - Russ, Flum - Aigner, Meier, Inui - Lakic