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Heat is on for Basel and CFR

Published: Monday 20 August 2012, 21.38CET
High temperatures have meant special preparation for Heiko Vogel and his FC Basel 1893 side as CFR 1907 Cluj look forward to a reunion with a team they met in the 2010/11 group stage.
by Ben Gladwell
from Basel
Heat is on for Basel and CFR
Alexander Frei (right) gets to grips with CFR defender Cadú in the 2010/11 group stage ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 20 August 2012, 21.38CET

Heat is on for Basel and CFR

High temperatures have meant special preparation for Heiko Vogel and his FC Basel 1893 side as CFR 1907 Cluj look forward to a reunion with a team they met in the 2010/11 group stage.

Two years on, FC Basel 1893 and CFR 1907 Cluj meet again in the UEFA Champions League but this time it is in the play-offs and with temperatures soaring in Switzerland for the first leg, the heat is on to secure a group stage berth.

Basel enjoyed a memorable continental campaign last season, reaching the last 16 of Europe's top club competition, accounting for Manchester United FC along the way. Coach Heiko Vogel has warned his side they must start from scratch again, though. "The expectations in Basel are high, we helped to create them last season, but this is not a guarantee to get through," the German said.

"Cluj have not lost this season and have had good results away from home," the 36-year-old continued. "Romanian teams are very good tactically and with six Portuguese and two Brazilians, they have technical players, too. We must treat this game like any other and not think of the prize on offer."

A summer heatwave meant Basel had to stage their pre-match training session in the morning rather than at the planned time of 16.00CET, and Vogel has factored in the weather to his preparations. "We have cool-down jackets ready for half-time and players will have to drink a lot – I am happy to be the coach and not one of the players."

He will have to do without one of his key men, Gilles Yapi, after it was confirmed the midfielder will be out for a month with the knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 2-0 home victory against FC Lausanne-Sport.

Alexander Frei does return, though, and is likely to start on the bench. Captain Marco Streller is looking to take advantage after a close shave against Molde FK in the last round. "We are lucky to be in the play-offs," he said. "Yann Sommer rescued us with his penalty save in added time. We have to play two finals now but I think the experience we have from similar situations puts us in good stead."

The teams shared a win each when they met in the 2010/11 group stage, but CFR skipper Cadú feels things have changed in his team's favour since those contests. "I don't think they are as strong as two years ago, whereas we are a better side," the defender said. Coach Ioan Andone suggested much the same, adding: "Tomorrow it will be impossible that the match will end 0-0. We are obliged to score at least a goal and we will go for it."

Last updated: 12/11/13 9.15CET

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