Big Tel Aviv Derby


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Israel international midfielder GAL ALBERMAN (center) of FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, who spent two seasons in the German Bundesliga with Borussia Moenchengladbach following his selection as the domestic Footballer of the Year by the Maariv newspaper for his work with FC Beitar Jerusalem over the 2007-08 season, moves into the penalty box for a corner kick opposite FC Hapoel Tel Aviv during the “Big Tel Aviv Derby” match this past mid-October at the Bloomfield Stadium. (maccabi-tlv.co.il)
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Because the modern metropolis has no fewer than three clubs in the domestic top flight, football matches between FC MACCABI TEL AVIV and FC HAPOEL TEL AVIV are known locally as the “BIG TEL AVIV DERBY”.

It is, indeed, a worthy description of this particular intra-city derby fixture as the competing clubs are easily the two most successful sides in the history of Israeli football. FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, who were originally founded as the first Jewish football club during the Ottoman Palestine era in 1906, have totaled 18 league championships and another 22 domestic Cup titles. And the requisite, traditional arch-rival whose roots stretch back to 1923, FC Hapoel Tel Aviv, have won league and Cup honors a matching 13 times apiece.

The very first Big Tel Aviv Derby took place more than three quarters of a century ago during the time period known as the British Mandate. In February of 1928, the elder FC Maccabi Tel Aviv shutout upstart FC Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 in the inaugural intra-city clash following the formation of the Palestine Football Association earlier that year.

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Supporters of historical and traditional Israeli side FC Maccabi Tel Aviv have a visual presentation involving blue and yellow placards at the Bloomfield Stadium to celebrate the fact that their highly-successful football club has been in existance for more than a century.
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FC Hapoel Tel Aviv is “the standard bearer of the Israeli left”. To make a long story short, the Hapoel Sports Association were always associated with the Histadrut trade union and FC Hapoel Tel Aviv were the last Israeli football club to formally cut ties with politics, i.e., the trade union movement and the Labour Party. Yes, that is a Marxist / Soviet style Hammer and Sickle which adorns the official club emblem.
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The first-ever Big Tel Aviv Derby confrontation in a Cup Final occurred in 1933 with FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, once again, the winners with a 1-0 result. A year later, the budding intra-city adversaries both advanced to the Cup Final again with FC Hapoel Tel Aviv able to extract revenge with a 3-2 triumph. In all, the two sides have met a total of seven times in the Final of the Israeli State Cup with FC Maccabi Tel Aviv holding a decisive 5-2 advantage in those high-profile, head-to-head meetings.

In the first Big Tel Aviv Derby of the Ligat ha’Al season this past October, a goal scored by Israel international midfielder ERAN ZAHAVI and a clean sheet turned in by Nigeria World Cup goalkeeper VINCENT ENYEAMA gave FC Hapoel Tel Aviv a 1-0 victory in the “home” leg of the tie for the defending Israeli league and Cup champions.

FC Hapoel Tel Aviv are, at present, topping the domestic table on the basis of goal-differential over FC Maccabi Haifa. After appointing former FC Maccabi Tel Aviv and Israel national team midfielder MOTTI IVANIR the new trainer not so long ago, the Yellows have won four Ligat ha’Al matches on the trot and lurk four points off pace in third position. A positive result in the Big Tel Aviv Derby on Sunday could change everything for the most successful club in the history of Israeli football.

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FC Maccabi Tel Aviv leading scorer ELIRAN ATAR, the 23-year-old striker selected as Man of the Match following two goals for the Yellows in the 4-3 UEFA Europa League victory over French side Paris St. Germain earlier this past August, leaps over the sliding, studs-up challenge of FC Hapoel Tel Aviv club captain and 36-year-old veteran VALEED BADEER, the defender with 74 caps and 12 goals for the national team of Israel to his credit, during the Big Tel Aviv Toto Cup Derby match this past fall at the shared Bloomfield Stadium. (maccabi-tlv.co.il)

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