Reigning Premier League Champions Hamrun Spartans get their UEFA Champions League campaign underway with a challenging opening game against Maccabi Haifa.

Hamrun have undergone a raft of changes since clinching the Premier League crown. Coach Branco Nisevic has departed, replaced by Luciano Zauri. Also out the door were Rodrigo Callegari, Vinicius Freitas, Elvis Mashike, Dodo and Kalle Holmberg while Footballer of the Year Matthew Guillaumier was released as he seeks an opportunity abroad.

The club has added to its squad with the signing of former Italy national team goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, defenders Karlo Bilic and Joseph Zerafa, midfielders Nemanja Krstic and Elionay, wingers Yuliyan Nenov and Seth Paintsil and centre forward Uros Djuranovic. Marchetti will take over from Henry Bonello who is still recovering from an injury in the Euro qualifier against Ukraine.

The winner of this qualifier between Hamrun and Maccabi Haifa will face the winner of the clash between Farul Costanta of Romania and Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

On the other hand, the team which is eliminated will enter the UEFA Europa Conference League where they would face the loser of the clash between Astana of Kazakhstan and Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia.

Tonight’s tie kicks-off at 8pm at the Centenary Stadium.