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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: BASEL V CHELSEA

TACTICAL BRIEF
Chelsea attempt to set up victory in the second leg at the Bridge with a decent result in northern Switzerland tonight. Amsterdam in May is the target.

Key battles
Chelsea have lost four of our last five European away games, including against Steaua Bucharest and Rubin Kazan, so an improved performance will be required to take anything away from St Jakob-Park.

Two things are in the Blues' favour. Firstly the RotBlau will be without their second top scorer this season, the veteran Alex Frei. The attacking midfielder, who also netted 42 in 84 games for Switzerland, was a wily test for defenders.

After scoring in his final match for Basel against Zurich recently he retired from playing to become sporting director for Lucerne. Similar experience is otherwise largely lacking in a team celebrating its first European semi-final.

The second potentially promising aspect of this game is that Murat Yakin has assembled a team that likes to play on the front foot, which may work in Chelsea's favour - the Londoners generally perform better against more adventurous sides.

As part of his strategy the forward trio of Marco Streller (pictured below left), Mohamed Salah and Valentin Stocker are tasked with pressing defenders into errors. It was quite successful against the likes of Walker, Dawson, Gallas and Naughton. Basel also dispensed in similar fashion with Manchester United 3-3 and 2-1, remember, in last season's Champions League.

Streller Basel

Streller is a tall, powerful and experienced striker but as a younger man he was unable to cut it in the Bundesliga. He was in the squad but didn't make the bench when we played Stuttgart in the 2003/04 Champions League Round of 16.

Livewire Egyptian international Mohamed Salah impressed at White Hart Lane with a series of clever runs showing close control and mercurial pace.

However his strike rate is comparatively disappointing. The 20-year-old found his shooting boots with a vital toe-poke in the second leg, but it was his first in the tournament. Chelsea's back four will have to watch his sudden bursts of pace behind them. Champions League final stars Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill both travelled to Switzerland with the rest of the squad.

Aleksandar Dragovic is a technical central defender with a poacher's instinct in the opposition box but can be a little rash and, at 22, forms part of an inexperienced partnership with 21-year-old Fabian Shär at the heart of Basel's defence.

With Demba Ba ineligible, Fernando Torres will the closest at hand to capitalise on any nerves or misunderstandings.

As ever the Blues will look to the dynamism and creativity of the likes of Juan Mata, the Barclays Premier League's top assist-maker, and Eden Hazard, who has looked impossible to handle in recent matches.

Whoever plays wide right for Chelsea will need to watch left-back Joo-Ho Park, a solid defender who can also provide useful support upfront, as well as a goal threat.

Goalie Yann Sommer has often been the hero for Basel, who readily concede chances in Europe. He kept Swiss hopes viable for long periods in the face of Tottenham pressure in the quarter-final and previously saved a crucial Zenit penalty in the Round of 16.

Another sub-plot to watch out for: eight players from Chelsea and Basel's squads will be suspended for the semi-final second leg if they are booked tonight (four each from Chelsea and Basel).


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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: BASEL V CHELSEA

CHELSEA STATS
The Blues are looking to become the only English club to win all three major UEFA competitions having won the Champions League last season and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 and 1998. Three clubs that have achieved it are Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich.

This is the 34th successive midweek that our players have either played for the club or been away on international duty. The last clear week all the players were at Cobham training was the last week of August leading up to the Super Cup against Atlético Madrid.


Chelsea's away record against Swiss teams
2000/01 St Gallen L 0-2 UEFA Cup first round second leg (agg 1-2)

 

Chelsea's last ten years in Europe
2002/03 - UEFA Cup - first round
2003/04 - Champions League - semi-final
2004/05 - Champions League - semi-final
2005/06 - Champions League - round of 16
2006/07 - Champions League - semi-final
2007/08 - Champions League - runners-up
2008/09 - Champions League - semi-final
2009/10 - Champions League - round of 16
2010/11 - Champions League - quarter-final
2011/12 - Champions League - winners


Last six results
Apr 4 Rubin Kazan (Europa League a) W 3-1
Apr 7 Sunderland (h) W 2-1
Apr 11 Rubin Kazan (Europa League a) L 2-3
Apr 14 Manchester City (FA Cup Wembley) L 1-2
Apr 17 Fulham (a) W 3-0
Apr 21 Liverpool (a) D 2-2


European scorers
Torres 7, Oscar 6, Mata 4, Moses 3, Cahill 2, D Luiz 2 (1 pen), Hazard 1, Ramires 1, Terry 1. Total: 27


Chelsea's next three games
Sun 28 Apr Swansea home 3pm
Thu 2 May Basel (Europa League SF) home 8.05pm
Sun 5 May Manchester United away 4pm

 

MILESTONES
Frank Lampard needs two goals to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling on 202.

If selected, David Luiz will play his 50th game of the season for the Blues.


BASEL STATS
Founded
1893

Major honours
15 Swiss league titles, last in 2012
11 Swiss Cups, last in 2012
1 Swiss League Cup in 1972


Basel have won 81 of their 186 UEFA competition matches

Basel are unbeaten at home in six European matches since the start of the group stage. They average two goals a game at St Jakob-Park in the Europa League this term.

Seventy per cent of their goals in the Europa League have come in the second half.

Basel are the only reigning domestic champions left in the competition. They have played more European matches this term (18) than any other surviving team.

Their record against English teams is played 18, won three, drawn seven and lost eight.

Basel have only suffered two defeats in their last 28 games in all competitions.

The capacity of Basel's St Jakob-Park Stadium is 38,512. Their biggest European crowd to date was 36,500 against Tottenham in the quarter-final.

Last Wednesday, Basel won their Swiss Cup semi-final against Sion and will play Grasshoppers in the final on 19 May.


Last ten league seasons

2002/03 - 2nd
2003/04 - 1st
2004/05 - 1st
2005/06 - 2nd
2006/07 - 2nd
2007/08 - 1st
2008/09 - 3rd
2009/10 - 1st
2010/11 - 1st
2011/12 - 1st


Basel's home games against English teams in Europe
1995/96 Sheffield Wed W 1-0 Intertoto Cup group stage
2001/02 Aston Villa D 1-1 Intertoto Cup final first leg
2002/03 Liverpool D 3-3 Champions League group stage
2002/03 Manchester Utd L 1-3 Champions League second group stage
2003/04 Newcastle  L 2-3 UEFA Cup second round first leg
2005/06 Middlesbrough W 2-0 UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg
2009/10 Fulham L 2-3 Europa League group stage
2011/12 Manchester Utd W 2-1 Champions League group stage
2012/13 Tottenham D 2-2 (won 4-1 on pens aet) Europa League quarter-final second leg



Ten-year European record
2002/03 - Champions League second group stage
2003/04 - UEFA Cup second round
2004/05 - UEFA Cup round of 32 having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2005/06 - UEFA Cup quarter-finals having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2006/07 - UEFA Cup group stage
2007/08 - UEFA Cup round of 32
2008/09 - Champions League group stage
2009/10 - Europa League group stage
2010/11 - Europa League round of 32 having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2011/12 - Champions League round of 16

 

2012/13 European results
Champions League 2nd qual round
Jul 17 Flora (a) W 2-0
Jul 24 Flora (h) W 3-0
Champions League 3rd qual round
Aug 1  Molde (a) W 1-0
Aug 8 Molde (h) D 1-1
Champions League play-offs
Aug 21 CFR Cluj (h) L 1-2
Aug 29 CFR Cluj (a) L 0-1
Europa League Group G
Sep 20 Sporting Lisbon (a) D 0-0
Oct 4 KRC Genk (h) D 2-2
Oct 25 Videoton (a) L 1-2
Nov 8 Videoton (h) W 1-0
Nov 22 Sporting Lisbon (h) W 3-0
Dec 6 KRC Genk (a) D 0-0
Europa League round of 32
Feb 14 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (h) W 2-0
Feb 21 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (a) D 1-1
Round of 16
Mar 7 Zenit St Petersburg (h) W 2-0
Mar 14 Zenit St Petersburg (a) L 0-1
Quarter-final
Apr 4 Tottenham (a) D 2-2
Apr 11 Tottenham (h) (won 4-1 on pens) D 2-2aet

 

 

Europa League Group G final table
P W D L F A Pts
KRC Genk 6 3 3 0 9 4 12
Basel 6 2 3 1 7 4 9
Videoton 6 2 0 4 6 8 6
Sporting Lisbon 6 1 2 3 4 10 5


European scorers
Streller 5 (1 pen), A Frei 3 (2 pens), Schär 3 (1 pen), Stocker 3, Zoua 3, D Degen 2, Diaz 2, Dragovic 1, F Frei 1, Salah 1. Total 24.

 

Last six domestic results
Mar 17 Thun (h) W 1-0
Apr 1 Luzern (a) W 4-0
Apr 7 St Gallen (a) D 1-1
Apr 14 Zurich (h) W 3-1
Apr 17 Sion (Swiss Cup semi-final a) W 1-0
Apr 21 Thun (a) D 2-2

 


PMB

 

Swiss Super League top half
Pld Gd Pts
1 Basel 28 +29 57
2 Grasshoppers 28 +12 54
3 St Gallen 28 +16 50
4 Sion 28 -1 42
5 Zurich 28 +5 36

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Pavel Kralovec, his two assistant referees and two additional assistant referees are all from the Czech Republic.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
There are no suspensions.

Demba Ba is cup-tied having already played for Newcastle in this season's competition.

Europa League bookings list
Players receive a one-match suspension for collecting three, five and seven yellow cards.
Chelsea (16): D Luiz 3 (already served a suspension), Bertrand 2, Cole 2, Mikel 2, Ramires 2, Benayoun 1, Cahill 1, Marin 1, Oscar 1, Terry 1
Basel (27): P Degen 5 (already served two suspensions for 3 and 5), Serey Die 4 (already served a suspension), Streller 4 (already served a suspension), Park Joo Ho 3 (already served a suspension), Dragovic 2, F Frei 2, Ajeti 1, Cabral 1, D Degen 1, Diaz 1, Elneny 1, Schär 1, Stocker 1

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