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"New Year's Eve, a game against the Germans. The greatest closing of the circle" - voila! sport


The tension in the dressing room, the symbolic rival and the holiday dinner question. Back to the festive game in which Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted Bayern Munich in 2004

"New Year's Eve, a game against the Germans. The greatest closing of the circle"

The tension in the dressing room ("we must not ruin the evening for tens of thousands of families"), the symbolic rival ("even bigger than the event itself") and the question of the holiday meal ("as close as possible").

Back to the festive game in which Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted Bayern Munich in 2004

Yaniv Tuchman


Sunday, September 25, 2022, 7:00 p.m

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Summary: Maccabi Tel Aviv - Beitar Jerusalem 0:4 (Sport1)

"I grew up 400 meters as the crow flies from the Ramat Gan stadium. That's where my childhood was," recalls Eli Derix.

"My parents' house bordered Bnei Brak, so I didn't have to be taught what it means to play football on New Year's Eve. But when you play in the Champions League and there are dictates from UEFA, you don't have too much to do.

All our requests, e-mails, phone calls, references to exchange homes.

No one agreed to change."

On September 15, 2004, 18 years ago, Maccabi Tel Aviv of Lonnie Hertsikovich arrived for the first time in its history to play in the Champions League. It was not the champion here in Israel, but on its way it managed to qualify for the group stage and received a lottery to play against Juventus, Ajax And Bayern Munich. House of death. Derricks was then the CEO of the club.

He came alone to the house lottery, which was then in Monaco.

"All the clubs sent three or four representatives. I arrived alone and when I realized that the first and historic game was played in Israel against Bayern on Rosh Hashanah Eve,

Next week, Maccabi Haifa will play its away game against Juventus in the group stage of the Champions League at the end of Yom Kippur, so Derricks understands very well what difficulty one encounters when coming to such a task.

Later, when he became the general manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv in basketball, he experienced it firsthand more than once. "In the EuroLeague in basketball it happens much more frequently.

Maccabi Tel Aviv marks dates that are problematic for it, but something always comes out.

What, there wasn't more than one time that the Final Four was on or near Memorial Day?"

"Something that had never happened before in Israel."

Ramat Gan Stadium is warming up for the Champions League (Photo: GettyImages, Christian Fischer/Bongarts)

Avner Toito was in office for three months when the task of managing the team for the historic moment fell upon him.

Derricks was the CEO, Toito was the new team manager. "I remember the news that we would play against Bayern on New Year's Eve.

I grabbed my head.

On Rosh Hashanah Eve in Israel to play a football game?

It sounds like something impossible.

We were then sleeping at the David Intercontinental Hotel and decided to celebrate New Year's Eve, a day before the deadline.

Nir Klinger talked to me and we said go for it.

So it turned out that the evening before the game, we brought up the New Year's Eve and had an evening in one of the halls of the hotel, with all the blessings.

Nevertheless, Rosh Hashanah and Seder Eve are really the biggest family evenings that Jews have.

We invited the families, spouses and everyone who was close to the team and players to the hotel.

It was very strange, but it was as close to New Year's Eve as you could get.

After that, the players spent a few hours with the families and towards midnight everyone left, and we all went into full concentration for the next day's game."

Maccabi Tel Aviv of 2004 was very far from Mitch Goldhar's Maccabi Tel Aviv.

A year before she won the championship with Klinger, but three months later it was decided to say goodbye to Avi Nemani and Tal Benin.

Thousands of fans of the team did not agree even a year after the breakup, with Hertsikovich's move.

Even qualifying for the Champions League in 2004, did not calm a large amount of fans who continued to come to the games dressed in black as a sign of protest and even mourning for the separation from Menni.

"Getting to the Champions League is of course an extraordinary source of income that you don't take into account in the budget," Derricks continues.

"So there are royalties from UEFA, but revenue from tickets is also important.

We decided to do a mini subscription and hoped to sell everything.

Ramat Gan Stadium can accommodate 38,000 spectators and we said we would go for 35,000 spectators as a target.

To this day I think that if it wasn't for the game against Bayern on Rosh Hashanah Eve, we would have reached this number.

In the bottom row against Bayern there were almost 25 thousand spectators which is a respectable number for a game on New Year's Eve.

People actually came to the stadium from the holiday table after receiving a pass from their families and it wasn't easy."

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John Fantsil (Photo: GettyImages, Christian Fischer/Bongarts)

Among the players it was a one-off evening.

Also a historic game in the Champions, also a home game, also a team of the caliber of Bayern Munich and especially a game on New Year's Eve.

"If you had told me in all my years as a teenager and at the beginning of my football career that there would come a day when I would play on Rosh Hashanah Eve, I would have said you were crazy," recalled Erez Mesika.

From that evening at the Ramat Gan Stadium which ended in Maccabi Tel Aviv's 1:0 loss after a penalty committed by the team's offensive defender John Pentsil, Mesika remembers his kick towards Oliver Kahn and especially the feeling of going down to warm up 40 minutes before the opening whistle knowing that in every house in Israel there are now sitting for the holiday dinner.

"To this day, I still feel bad that I didn't score against Oliver Kahn. With a little more experience and more spin, my ball would have landed inside and maybe it really was a game that no one would forget. But the section on New Year's Eve was really special. That silence when we went out to warm up because the crowd was still On the way from the holiday meals, it's something I don't forget. I also remember very well what happened at the hotel the night before with the special meal with the families, but no less than that I remember that there were quite a few religious people who came to celebrate the holiday at the hotel and on the day of the game I found myself praying with them and feeling the most It is sacred. I have put on a tefillin all my life and today I observe Shabbat and don't even travel. I have to play on Rosh Hashanah Eve, which is one of the most important moments for every Jew. It was a very special moment."

"This evening and that campaign will never be forgotten."

Maccabi Tel Aviv before the game (Photo: GettyImages, Christian Fischer/Bongarts)

The team captain in that game was Liren Strauber.

"I remember that the game didn't stress me at all," he says.

"Still, we came as underdogs and we only had something to gain from the factory and we really had a great campaign with an amazing victory over Ajax. But what caught us the most that evening beyond the professional aspect, was our game as Israelis, as Jews, against a team from Germany and more on Rosh Hashanah Eve. If there was anything The only thing on our minds is not to be humiliated by some kind of defeat because we are on Rosh Hashanah Eve and because tens of thousands will come to the field and hundreds of thousands will watch at home. It was important for us not to take a hit that would embarrass us because of the holiday and because it was a game against a German team. I remember we talked among ourselves in the dressing room and said : 'We must not ruin the evening for tens of thousands of families.' .

This evening and that campaign will never be forgotten.

It will always remain etched in my memory."

Maccabi Tel Aviv finished the campaign with four very respectable points.

A victory over Ajax (double from Baruch Dago) and a draw against Juventus led to a very successful end to the club's first baptism of fire in the major league.

It was a very respectable campaign by an unglamorous team.

Very young, but very tactically trained.

Each of the participants still takes his own little moment from what he experienced 18 years ago.

That match against Bayern Munich on New Year's Eve is something none of them will ever forget.

  • sport

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  • Maccabi Tel Aviv in football

Source: walla

All sports articles on 2022-09-25

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