This preview takes us east where geographically Kazakhstan may not be considered as part of Europe but in footballing terms it does. And the Champions League group stage may just find itself travelling that far!
Aktobe - Hapoel Tel Aviv
The hosts have many Kazakhstan internationals in their squad with the most prominent being skipper Smakov and midfielder Andrey Karpovich. They also have some second rate foreign imports. In domestic league action they lost 1-2 to Irtysh Pavlodar but they did rest many players. They are off the pace by some margin in the league but qualification into the Champions League group stage would bring financial rewards for the club.
The Israeli visitors got to the third qualification round with two victories against Bosnian side FK Zeljeznicar. They have plenty of Israeli internationals along with Nigerian international goalie Vincent Enyeama, while they have bolstered the squad with the addition of Ben Sahar (Israeli international forward once considered the next big thing but yet to live up to expectations) on loan and South Africa international defender Bevan Fransman. Nevertheless, they are a much weaker team on their travels.
Selection: I think the home ground will play a significant role although i do not think the home side will qualify for the next stage. The Israelis will not be too disappointed if they head back home with a 0-1 loss in their bags. HOME WIN