FC Basel 1893 welcome UEFA Champions League newcomers FC Oţelul Galaţi for their opening Group C fixture hoping to avoid a repeat of last season's false start against Romanian opposition.
• Twelve months ago Thorsten Fink's side fell to a 2-1 matchday one defeat at CFR 1907 Cluj after conceding twice in the first 12 minutes and will want to do better against an inexperienced Oţelul side given the tests ahead against Manchester United FC and SL Benfica.
• Oţelul are entering the competition for the first time having won their maiden Romanian championship in 2010/11 and kick off against another national title holder in Basel.
• Basel finished third in last season's group stage, and to better that must step up their efforts at home, where they have lost three of their last four games in UEFA competition.
• Basel had never faced Romanian opposition before taking on CFR last season. They lost 2-1 away – Valentin Stocker scoring for the Swiss side – before making partial amends with a 1-0 home victory courtesy of a goal by Federico Almerares. That was their only win at St. Jakob-Park and they ended up four points behind second-placed AS Roma. Fink's team went into the UEFA Europa League but lost in the round of 32, suffering a 3-2 home defeat by FC Spartak Moskva before a 1-1 away draw.
• This is Basel's fourth UEFA Champions League group stage campaign after previous outings in 2002/03, 2008/09 and 2010/11 and only once have they reached the last 16, on their debut appearance nine years ago.
• Outside of UEFA Cup qualifying matches and the UEFA Intertoto Cup, Oţelul have only twice before participated in a UEFA competition proper. In the 1976/77 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup they lost home (2-3) and away (0-2) to Boavista FC on their European bow. In the 1998/89 UEFA Cup first round, they beat Juventus 1-0 at home but went down 5-0 in the return in Turin.
• Only eight months separate Basel coach Fink, born in 1967, and his Oţelul counterpart Dorinel Munteanu, born in 1968, and their playing careers overlapped in Germany. Fink played for Karlsruher SC and FC Bayern München while Munteanu was at 1. FC Köln and VfL Wolfsburg. Fink had the better of the pair's meetings in their playing days, winning six and losing two with one draw.
• As a player with Karlsruher, Fink faced Romanian opposition in FC Rapid Bucureşti in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup first round, losing 1-0 in Bucharest but winning 4-1 at home. His first taste of UEFA club competition, in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup, included Karlsruher's 1-0 home victory against FC Universitatea Craiova.
• Munteanu's European experience as a coach is limited to three UEFA Intertoto Cup matches with CFR in 2005, and FC Steaua Bucureşti's final three UEFA Champions League group stage games in 2008/09. As a player he appeared in the UEFA Cup but never the European Cup.
• Munteanu was in the Romania team beaten 4-1 by Switzerland in the group stage of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
• Only one member of Oţelul's squad, Sorin Frunză, has played UEFA Champions League football before. He made five appearances, two as a substitute, for FC Unirea Urziceni in the 2009/10 group stage and also featured for Unirea in the UEFA Europa League.
• Frunză's Unirea finished third in their group and 25 years after Steaua Bucureşti lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup, no Romanian side has yet managed a top-two finish in a UEFA Champions League group stage.
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