Twenty-one years after their first appearance in European competition, Maccabi Tel Aviv made history by reaching the knock-out stages for the very first time. After having finished a very respectable second in the group F of the Europa League group stage, just behind Eintracht Franfurt but ahead of FC Girondins de Bordeaux and APOEL Nicosia, Maccabi Tel Aviv advanced to the round of 32 where for the second time in the 2013/14 European campaign they drew Swiss champions FC Basel, who had knocked them out of the Champions League at the play-off stage six months earlier.
And much to their disappointment, Maccabi Tel Aviv once again failed to overcome this considerable European hurdle. In contrast to the Champions League play-off it fell upon Maccabi Tel Aviv to host the first leg at Bloomfield Stadium. Despite repeated efforts, head coach Paulo Sousa's squad failed to breach the Basel defences and wound up taking a goalless draw into the second leg in Switzerland. The game will be remembered by Maccabi fans less for its outcome than for the fact that it was there, even before the referee's whistle, that star striker Barak Itzhaki sustained a cruciate ligament injury in the warm-up that not only kept him out of that match but would keep him out of action for many months to come. But the result too was a disappointment for the Maccabi faithful, a 3-0 loss that would spell the end of what was still an extremely successful 2013/14 European campaign. So successful in fact that Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club jumped an astonishing 71 places in the UEFA club rankings, bringing them closer than ever to the top 100 clubs in Europe.
Round of 32: