I was reading an intresting, but nonetheless polemical article by Gabi Haviv at ONE website and in his editorial it says that if Hapoel was drawn in the Champions League in the same group as Maccabi Haifa was, the reds of Tel Aviv would have done a far better job. Plus, he adds that his beloved team is a more "European" club than Haifa.
This enticed me to think what would be your guys opinion about the issue? Is it true? It is of course speculation, but it is an intresting analysis.
My personal opinion regarding the issue is that Haviv exagerates when he says Hapoel would do a "far better job" and that "Hapoel is more European than Haifa". In the last 10 years Hapoel has managed to qualify to play in European competitions in every single season (maybe just one season they missed to qualify) and this shows a lot of consistency. No one forgets of course their fantastic Uefa Cup run in 2001/2002 beating the likes of Chelsea, Parma, Lokomotiv Moscow and Milan and other seasons in which they obtained intresting results and expressive wins like a 4-2 win at Parc des Prince over Paris Saint Germain or even their most recent campaign with a 2-1 win over Celtic and a 5-1 trashing of Rapid Wien in Bloomfield and now a 3-0 in Vienna. Their fans make a very good home atmosphere at the games and rarely Hapoel loses a match in Israel.
But Haviv does not take in consideration Maccabi Haifa´s history in European competitions, maybe because he is a Hapoel fan afterall
Haifa is the only Israeli club to have qualified twice to the Champions League Group Stage (Maccabi Tel Aviv has one appearance). Their first trip to Europe´s elite was remarkable despite not managing to advance, a historical 3-0 trashing of Manchester United and Olympiakos at home (at that time the games were played in Cyprus due to Uefa ban on Israel to host games). This wasn´t the only season Haifa had good displays. In 1998 a young Yossi Benayoun was part of a team that managed to reach the quarterfinals of the now extinct Cup Winners Cup, with great displays and including a dramatic injury time win over Paris Saint Germain. Three seasons ago Haifa was in the Uefa Cup group stage and included wins over Auxerre, Partizan and Lokomotiv only stopping in the eight finals losing to Espanyol ( who happened to reach the finals on that season).
Anyways, history could not be the best argument in this case since both of them had good seasons and also failures in Europe. What we could agree is that BOTH teams are the most "European" of Israel without a doubt.
What do you guys think? Would Hapoel Tel Aviv do a better a job in the Champions League than Maccabi Haifa? Are the reds more "European" than the "greens"?