Hapoel Tel Aviv will play tonight (Saturday, 21:00) in the Tel Aviv derby against Maccabi, where they will try to prove, on the biggest stage for them, how much they have changed from end to end in relation to the team that started the season in the Khodorov complex, the same team that broke up with 4: 0 in the derby of the first round, which underwent a major professional turnaround in January and set out on a new path.
And those who symbolize most of all this change, whether it is reflected tonight on the scoreboard in Bloomfield (where they have not celebrated seven years in the city battle), in any case – are Dan Einbinder and Ben Bitton, the new leaders of Hapoel Tel Aviv, who joined Ernestes Shtakos at the gate and Omri Altman, the captain and leader at the front of the main boulevard leading Nir Klinger’s team.
But ahead of Maccabi Tel Aviv, the spotlight is on Bitton and Einbinder. Those who won fame together in the Hapoel Beer Sheva uniform and picked up titles, played in Europe, reached the Israeli team, wore the yellow of Maccabi Tel Aviv (Einbinder mainly the yellow of Betar) and after Periods not at all simple to prove, themselves first of all, that they are really not seventy after the beautiful career they have already achieved, and that they have much more to sell in the red uniform.
The good friends, including the families, lead Hapoel Tel Aviv, each in his own way. The young guys, those who were left almost alone in the battle at the beginning of the season and faced the big failure in the first round, have been relying on them lately and when there are such figures around, guiding, motivating and leading – Convenient for “babies”, and also for those who were not defined as such in a project that was launched last year and was shelved quite quickly, very.
One grew up in the club and became the “symbol of the misses” when he eventually flourished in the place where he grew up and the other with the big rival from the capital. And feels like an actor born red and connected to an audience from the first second.
The beginning of change
The right-back, who moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv last summer after the good years at BS, faded in Kiryat Shalom. People around him say that he soon realized he was wrong in the move he made, when he made a total of 9 appearances in the yellow-blue uniform, mostly felt not really belonging and returned home, to Wolfson, just before deleting all his photos and mentions of the city rival from his Instagram account. And he will be “a little” happier than the rest if the Reds manage to get something out of the Yellows.
Since then, he has completely changed Klinger’s defensive game, adding a lot of fighting, determination and leadership to a squad that was built on Eddie Gottlieb (who returned to the team with loud cheers in the summer and meanwhile made 9 appearances and is mostly preoccupied with groin injuries). And Danny Gruper, absolutely tough.
The very fact that Bitton actually turned Iyad Abu Abid into a brake on a regular basis has already benefited the team, as he cooperates excellently with his voice in the center of defense, and also forces the first, which comes up and attacks quite a bit. Bitton himself contributed his share in that since his arrival the Reds have conceded 7 goals in 10 league games, while until then they have conceded 19 in 16 rounds. While the improvement does not look great on paper, it starts with defense and is clearly reflected in the accumulation of points.
In practice, the Reds scored 16 points (so far they only counted 10), kept a clean sheet five times (of which four wins) – which happened a total of four times up to the same point. Bottom line: By the time Bitton and the other acquisition players arrived Hapoel was 5 points away from the red line, most recently in the league, and now they have a small gap of 3 points above the line. 23% success in the first round, 47% in the second round.
“We’ve gone from the nice team of the league, who are dismantling it and waiting to meet it, to a team that is tough on them, and that’s a lot thanks to the defensive game that Ben changed him completely,” said Wolfson. “And this is the verb, even in its bad years. We lacked it in the first round and Ben came to exactly the box we needed so that everyone would be freed to a position that is best and helpful in it, so that we could embark on a new path in this section. We started playing football, and better than most rivals we played against. “Most of all, we showed character, war and sacrifice. We absorb less and that is the beginning of the change for us.”
And if we mentioned the word “sacrifice” again, we must also mention his recent shoulder dislocation. While his shoulder actually went out of place during the game against Hapoel BS Turner, he continued to play with the adrenaline in his body and was not ready to hear about a replacement, when Hapoel Tel Aviv came home with 3 important points. Since two weeks have passed, most estimates have talked about the fact that although he did not suffer from a crisis, he will not be able to play in the derby, but in recent days he has recorded a significant improvement in his condition and trained fully.
“Ben will not miss this game,” said the optimistic Hapoel Tel Aviv team this week. “He does everything to play and he will play no matter what,” when it comes to an unequivocal statement and a message to the young people, and in general. Bitton’s uncompromising war And now to play in a derby, it’s something that permeates young people, who may have allowed themselves to be a little softer until experienced players like Bitton and Einbinder arrived, and now they have a lot to learn from.
“Feels like a home player for everything”
Beyond the fact that Einbinder symbolizes more than anything the change that Hapoel Tel Aviv underwent, as the one who most influenced the team game and rearranged it, he is also considered one due to the fact that he is at the top of the players that Klinger still wanted to add in the summer. ), But later than not at all.
Lidor Cohen, Shlomi Azulai and Ofek Bitton were also candidates in the summer, but the coach put all his cards and made it clear to everyone at the club that Einbinder is at the top of the purchase list, knowing exactly what he was going to get in light of their acquaintance and relationship between them at home and in kindergarten. The one-sided and surprising one from Betar. And who knows what Hapoel Tel Aviv’s season would have looked like with them from the beginning, even just with Einbinder. One can only imagine.
And when we talk about the meaning of “Ivy” for Hapoel Tel Aviv, we are talking mainly about a captain in character and a coach on the field, and it is not just about sports clichés. While Bitton connected more with Ofek Bitton and Shai Elias, ex Betar took command of players like Doron Leidner and Osher Davida, Considered his project after the Legia Warsaw saga and the latter’s stay at Hapoel. In general, they took responsibility as mentors for the young guys in the locker room, and also on the pitch.
“Anyone who knows Dan is not at all surprised that he integrated quickly and took command like this at Hapoel, he was like a glove next to us,” the club said. “Today we understand that he has no other way, he can no longer be a player in the locker room, it’s a matter of character, and regardless of the fact that he’s our main player. He’s one who ‘puts his heart on the field.’ , Connect everyone, say the right sentence, pay attention to whoever needs to be picked up, give the good feeling.Even treat the club staff with respect It was not obvious to some players here in recent years, but near Dan everyone is equal the atmosphere he inspires, with his caring And his experience in locker rooms and past teams, it’s worth gold to a football team. “
Just last week, he first met Hapoel Tel Aviv fans. Without getting energies from them all the last time, or getting to know them closely, Einbinder won so much appreciation before and during the game against Bnei Sakhnin, and not for nothing. “All the talk about home.” “And Hapoel is a bluff, the audience sings to him and praises him as he deserves, he feels like a home player for everything and that is the treatment he received,” said Hapoel. “He had no way of connecting with them beyond his ability and war on the field, only those things that represent him and his victory roars, which could not be faked, made them fall in love with him from the first moment.”
And it should be remembered, Einbinder came to Hapoel Tel Aviv after very difficult months personally. After Betar released him, he did not train in a group setting, but individually, and still made 12 appearances in two and a half months, playing 90 minutes most of the time. “What this person has done here in terms of fitness is insane,” the group said. “Dan realized that he was in an emergency and entered the ‘zone’, he could not even think about fatigue and overload. Thanks in no small part to him, we realized how serious our situation is. We knew of course, “You get proportions and give of yourself more. You try to raise his level in his direction, he is an example to everyone in us, and in the league in general. There are not many such players today who organize and organize a team, and lead it in all respects. He is a species that is becoming extinct.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv may be a little afraid to think about what happened before the arrival of the acquisition players, especially Bitton and Einbinder, but together with them they are not afraid of any challenge. Not even of the derby, although that does not say anything about Hapoel’s ability to beat Maccabi. That victory in 2014, also the first goal in two years and two months in the derby (of Emanuel Boateng in a 1-1 draw in the colony in January 2019) will represent progress in relation to the weak red appearances in recent years.
They are the ones who will connect everyone in the team hug in the locker room (when a donor comes after Klinger and Altman’s things), they are the ones who will lie on the grass to extract, fight for every ball, talk to the referees because they care most, waste time if necessary, pass the instructions of The professional team and will do, by and large, everything that needs to be fought in the important and prestigious battle for all the Reds, regardless of the result. In their madness, in their insane love for the game, in longing it can be said after the periods gone by, they will continue to lead Hapoel tonight in Jaffa, until they remain hopeful for themselves at the end of the season and next season.