Another season in which Maccabi Tel Aviv missed the chance to qualify for the Champions League. Turkish champion Fenerbahce won 0-1 at Ramat Gan Stadium. Throughout most of the return match, Maccabi dramatically stayed level at 1-1 (Eli Driks, 77′), but they failed to find the winner that would get them to the Group Stage. After being eliminated, Maccabi went on to play Spanish side Tenerife in the UEFA Cup qualifiers, only to be religated from this competition after losing 3-2 in Spain (Ofer Mizrahi 74′, Avi Nimni 87′) and 1-1 in Ramat Gan (Gadi Brumer 58′).
The UEFA Cup’s first qualifying round handed Maccabi Tel Aviv a home tie against Lithuanian football club Zalgiris Kaunas, which ended in a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals by Andjei Kubika (14′, 34′) and Liron Basis (70′). In the return match, however, Maccabi fell behind 2-0, which would have meant elimination on the away goals rule. But a dramatic goal by Liron Basis three minutes from time propelled them into the next round. There the French side Lens proved to be a much more challenging opponent and Maccabi Tel Aviv were eliminated after a 2-2 draw in the home leg (Andjei Kubika 44′, Dedi Ben Dayan 85′) and a 2-1 loss in France (Liron Basis 24′).
Maccabi’s greatest victory in Europe came during the 2001/02 UEFA Cup qualifiers when they defeated Lithuanian side Zalgris Vilna 6-0 in the home leg of the first round. Dedi Ben Dayan electrified the crowd at Bloomfield in the 7th minute, Dego added a hat-trick (27′, 45′, 75′), Tal Banin (51′) scored his first European goal in Maccabi kit and Eli Biton (88′) sealed the final result. At the return match in Lithuania Rodrigo Goldberg scored (57′) for a satisfying 0-1 result and head coach Nir Levine’s players earned the right to play Croatian side Dynamo Zagreb in the following round. The first game in Croatia ended in a 2-2 draw with goals by Rodrigo Goldberg (23′) and Baruch Dego (42′). A 1-1 draw in the return tie at Bloomfield, with a goal by Avi Nimni (41′), helped Maccabi advance to the following stage on the away goals rule. The season’s European adventure ended in Holland when Roda JC beat Maccabi 4-1 (Ferenc Horvath 78′), an aggregate advantage that held even after Eli Biton’s brace (38′, 58′) at the return match at Bloomfield handed Maccabi a 2-1 victory.
The European season that ended with Maccabi winning the domestic championship is mainly remembered for the fact that UEFA prohibited games on Israeli soil due to the security situation. Despite the restriction, Maccabi did their job against Estonian side Levadia Tallinn, winning away 0-2 courtesy of goals by Andrejs Prohorenkovs (4′) and Reuven Oved (21′). In the return match, played in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Maccabi won again 2-0 on goals by Baruch Dego (74′) and Andrejs Prohorenkovs (85′), moving them into the next round to play Portuguese league runners-up Boa Vista. The “home” leg was once again played in Sofia and Maccabi won 1-0 courtesy of a goal by Baruch Dego (34′). In the return match, the Portuguese managed to overturn the tie by winning 4-1 (Amir Turjeman 76′), ending Maccabi’s participation in Europe for that year.
In the UEFA Cup qualifying rounds, Maccabi Tel Aviv first faced a rival close to home, Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus. The game in Cyprus proved more difficult than anticipated and Maccabi lost 1-0.. A significant result, for at the return match at Bloomfield goals by Avi Nimni and Erez Mesika only earned Maccabi a 2-2 draw that ended Maccabi’s European dream for the season.
Maccabi’s campaign in the UEFA Cup qualifiers began with one of the club’s most embarrassing defeats in European competition, a 1-0 loss in Andorra against amateur side Santa Coloma. Maccabi overturned the tie with a 4-0 win over the Andorrans at Bloomfield coutesy of a brace by Yannick Kamanan (12′, 71′) and additional goals by Erez Mesika (25′) and Yossi Shivhon (63′). In the next round Maccabi surrendered to Turkish side Kayseri Erciyesspor, first drawing the home leg 1-1 (Yannick Kamanan 60′) and then losing 3-1 at the return match in Turkey (Rudy Haddad 41′).
After a three-year absence from Europe, Maccabi returned for three qualifying rounds of the Europa League. In the first round they faced Montenegrin side FK Mogren, winning 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-0 victory at Bloomfield (Yoav Ziv 49′, Harris Medunjanin 52′) and losing 1-2 in the return match in Montenegro (Harris Medunjanin 7′). In the next round, Maccabi faced a very strong rival, Greek stalwarts Olympiakos. In the away game, that was played without spectators in accordance with UEFA sanctions, Maccabi scored just one goal (Harris Medunjanin 18′) in a 2-1 loss. In the return match, Maccabi Tel Aviv knew that a 1-0 victory would suffice to reach the next round, and Roberto Collauti (42′) delivered the goods with a goal close to halftime. In the play-offs for a place in the group stage, head coach Avi Nimni’s squad faced daunting opponents, French giants Paris St. Germain. The French won 2-0 in Paris, leaving Maccabi with it all to do in Tel Aviv. Both teams put on a wonderful display at the return match at Bloomfield. The home side scored an impressive four goals, including a brace by Eliran Atar (48′, 95′) and individual goals by Yuval Avidor (68′) and Harris Medunjanin (83′). But the visitors pulled back three of their own and the resultant 4-3 scoreline sent Maccabi crashing out of European play for the rest of the season.
As in the previous season, Maccabi Tel Aviv met three rivals in the Europa League qualifiers, and this time the ending was a happier one. In the first round, Maccabi hosted Khazar Lankaran of Azerbaijan and won 3-1 (Moussa Konate 22′, Eliran Atar 39′, Guillermo Israelevich 44′). After a goalless draw in the return match, Maccabi advanced to the second round, where they faced Bosnian side Zeleznicar. They won the away leg 0-2 courtesy of a brace by Roberto Collauti in the 47th and 56th minute. In the return match, head coach Motti Ivanir’s squad scored an explosive six goals in a 6-0 triumph that equalled the team’s prior record win in Europe. This victory saw two players score braces (Collauti 18′, 45′ and Eliran Atar 54′, 86′), a wonderful free kick by Rafi Dahan (38′) and an own goal by defender Velibor Vasilic (81′). The play-off draw in Switzerland handed Maccabi a trip to Greece to face European regulars Panathinaikos in a duel for a place in the group stage of the competition. After a 0-0 stalemate at halftime at Bloomfield, Moussa Konate (60′) and Eliran Atar (67′, 90′) scored second-half goals to give Maccabi a 3-0 victory. Harris Medunjanin (61′) scored at the return match in Athens and even two goals by the Greek side and a 2-1 defeat for the visitors were not enough to stand in the way of Maccabi Tel Aviv making an historic first appearance at the Europa League Group Stage.
After losing their third round Champions League qualifier to Slovenian champions NK Maribor, Maccabi Tel Aviv continued their European Campaign in the play-off round of the Europa League. Their opponent was Greek side Asteras Tripolis, who won the first leg in Greece 2-0 courtesy of goals by Argentinian striker Pablo Mazza and defender Giorgos Kyriakopoulos. Maccabi Tel Aviv arrived at the return leg in Cyprus with their backs to the proverbial wall, and felt that wall close in even farther after an early strike by Romanian defender Dorin Goian widened the aggregate to 3-0. Only after this further setback did the home side rouse themselves into action, with Barak Badash equalising even before the half-time whistle. After the restart goals by Eran Zahavi and Rade Prica put Maccabi ahead 3-1 to wipe out the visitor’s aggregate lead, but despite heavy pressure from the home side, an additional goal was not forthcoming. Owing to their away goal from the first leg, Asteras won the tie and Maccabi saw their 2014/15 European campaign come to an end.
Maccabi Tel Aviv began their Europa League campaign in the first round of qualifying as they faced NK Gorica of Slovenia for a two legged tie that began in Israel with a 3:0 win for the Yellow & Blue thanks to a brace by Nosa Igiebor. Maccabi won the away leg by a score of 1:0 as Yossi Benayoun scored his first goal for the Club. Up next was a trip to Kazakhstan for a second round, first leg date with Kairat Almaty for a match that ended in a 1:1 draw with goals being scored by Andriy Arshavin and Yossi Benayoun. Maccabi was victorious in the second leg at the Netanya Stadium thanks to goals by Tal Ben Chaim and an 85th minute winner by Gal Alberman. A trio of goal scorers helped the Yellow & Blue to a 3:1 away win over Pandurri in Romania in the first leg of the third round while Maccabi won the second leg 2:1 at home helping the Club advance to the playoff round. The first leg of the playoff round took place in Israel against Hajduk Split as the Yellow & Blue took a 2:1 victory on goals by Alberman and Scarione. The second leg in Croatia ended in a 2:1 advantage to Hajduk leading to penalties which was duly won by Maccabi with Avi Rikan finding the back of the goal for the winning spot kick.
The Yellow & Blue defeated Tirana of Albania in their first round two legged tie by a 5:0 aggregate score which set up a date with KR Reykjavík in the second round where Maccabi Tel Aviv won 3:1 in the home tie and 2:0 away. Panionios from Athens, Greece was up next in round three and Maccabi again moved on after two 1:0 victories as Vidar Kjartansson and Omer Atzili scored in the home and away legs respectively. The Playoff Round for a ticket to the Group Stages pitted Maccabi against Altach from Austria in two tough ties. Kjartansson scored the lone goal in a 1:0 away leg victory while the Icelander again scored in the 2:2 home tie as Captain Sheran Yeini scored the goal that helped the Yellow & Blue advance to the Europa League Group Stages for the second straight season.