Sports Direct Olim League preview: Matchday 7


With things hotting up at the top, we look ahead to Matchday Seven of the Sports Direct Olim League.

ENGLAND FC (3rd) vs JAFFA (5th)
Former champions England FC and Jaffa go into this fixture knowing that anything but a win, and any potential title aspirations will virtually be over.

This should prove to be a pulsating Tel Aviv–Jaffa derby. In recent seasons, England have held the slight edge in head-to-head meetings, though last year honours where shared as the away side came away with maximum points.

This is a fixture that traditionally sees a high level of commitment from both sides, along with plenty of cards.

England FC's Tal Stern and Jaffa's Daniel Berkely will both be relishing this fixture, as both will be looking to extend their excellent goal-scoring run in this fixture to three consecutive games.

The teams know each other inside out and another tight affair is on the cards, with England FC looking to avenge the 4-3 defeat Jaffa imposed on them in the corresponding fixture last year.

Leading Scorers:
England FC: Gaby Balulu 6
Jaffa: Daniel Berkeley and Rani Madmon (both 4 goals)

Tal Stern (England FC)
Daniel Berkeley (Jaffa)

England FC: WLLWD
Jaffa: WLWLW

England FC 2 v Jaffa 2


New boys Inter make the trip to the capital to take on last season's runner-up for the first meeting between these two.

It is a game league leaders Ra'anana will be keeping one eye on, to see which of the two will most likely give them the hardest battle for the title come Pesach.

Both sides opened the campaign with a defeat, but since then, they are both unbeaten in four, with near identical records.

Inter laid down their credentials in an impressive draw against former champs England FC last time out, whilst a slightly weakened Jerusalem successfully navigated a potential banana skin against Modi'in.

If Inter can restrain Jerusalem's front men, they may fancy their chances of nicking something from this game.

Leading Scorers:
Jerusalem: Zack Lewis 8, Moishe Lewis 7
Inter: Emanuel Scholtz 4

Lollu Hibbert (Jerusalem)
David Schumann (Inter)

Jerusalem: LWWDW
Inter: LWWWD

Prediction: Jerusalem 2 Inter 2


Real Athletico make the relatively short trip to Modi'in in the knowledge that a win should see them climb the table with teams above them facing each other.

Modi'in have had a very disappointing season so far, with nothing going right for them up front. They have been routed to the bottom two since the start of the season, and with rumours of a second division opening up next season, following interest from other sides, if they are to stay in the top flight next year, this is a fixture they must win.

Their opponents from the capital are a merger of two teams they beat at home last season. Both Modi'in and Real Athletico have similar defensive records, but it is up front, where the difference lies, with Real Athletico outscoring Modi'in by a massive 22 goals to six.

Real Athletico's David Bernstein commented: "Modi'in have had a shaky start, but they have an experienced manager and one can expect them to turn their luck around as the season progresses. They have a spacious pitch and if the weather holds up then we will have perfect playing conditions come Saturday."

Unless Modi'in's strikers make a guest appearance this weekend, they could well find themselves over 10 points behind the team just two places above them in the table, as the Duek brothers will be looking to add to their impressive strike rates for the visitors.

Leading Scorers:
Modi'in: Matan Kroizer 2
Real Athletico: Meni Duek 7, Jackie Duek 6

Modi'in: LLLLL
Real Athletico: WLWWL

Itay Saidoff (Modi'in)
Tomer Amos (Real Athletico)

Prediction: Modi'in 1 v Real Athletico Jerusalem 4


Basement side Rainball Tel Aviv will be hoping that runaway leaders will show some mercy on them, as the league's top-scorers take on the side with the worst defensive record.

Ra'anana boast two in-form strikers who have each scored more than their entire hosts have mustered all season.

Ra'anana's no. 1 Sapir Marom would be advised to bring a warm pair of gloves and some thermals, as he may be a mere spectator here.

Rainball should approach this fixture with a nothing-to-lose attitude, as they are up against arguably the strongest side in the league this year, but also take note that like them, Ra'anana were once the basement club, and that this season should be viewed as the start of a work in progress.

Leading Scorers:
Rainball Tel Aviv: Noam Siluk 2
Jerusalem: Aviad Ben Meir 16, Gavriel Kanichowsky 6

Lior Sabag (Rainball TA)
Chanani Corney (Ra'anana)

Rainball Tel Aviv: LLLLL
Ra'anana: WWWDW

Prediction: Rainball Tel Aviv 0 Ra'anana 10

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