FC Basel 1893 have been miserly at home in the UEFA Europa League this season, and FC Zenit St Petersburg know to their cost that failing to score away in the round of 16 can prove fatal.
• The sides are meeting for the first time. Basel's nine games against Russian clubs have ended W4 D2 L3 (W3 D0 L1 at home). They scored at least once in all of those fixtures, but have conceded in added time in their last two meetings with Russian opponents.
• Zenit's four games against Swiss clubs have ended W2 D0 L2 (W0 D0 L2 in Switzerland). They did score in both of their previous games on Swiss soil.
• Basel are unbeaten in five European games; the 1-1 draw against FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the round of 32 second leg ended a run of four successive clean sheets. They have won their last three at home and are unbeaten in four at the St Jakob-Park, where they have not conceded since a 2-2 draw with KRC Genk on matchday two.
• Zenit have won only once in their last ten European away games (W1 D2 L7), beating AC Milan 1-0 in their final UEFA Champions League group stage game of the autumn. They failed to score in five of those matches.
• Basel are in the round of 16 for the first time since 2005/06, when they beat RC Strasbourg before a quarter-final defeat by Middlesbrough FC. They played in the same stage of last season's UEFA Champions League, losing 7-1 on aggregate to FC Bayern München.
• Zenit have not made it through a round of 16 in three attempts since beating Olympique de Marseille en route to winning the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, losing out to Udinese Calcio (2008/09 UEFA Cup), FC Twente (2010/11 UEFA Europa League) and SL Benfica (20011/12 UEFA Champions League). In all three ties, they won the home leg but lost the away fixture without scoring.
• Basel's Markus Steinhöfer celebrates his 27th birthday on the day of the match; Aleksandar Dragovic is 22 on the eve of the game.
• Zenit and Basel are the only reigning domestic champions still in the competition.
• Winners in 2008, Zenit are one of three sides left in the competition who have had their hands on the UEFA Cup before, along with Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972, 1984) and FC Internazionale Milano (1991, 1994, 1998), who meet in the round of 16.
• The round of 16 features teams from 11 UEFA member associations; eight nations have a single representative, with England and Russia both taking three teams through and Italy two. Russia enjoyed a perfect round of 32, with all three representatives – FC Anji Makhachkala, FC Rubin Kazan and Zenit – making progress.
• This could be Basel striker Alexander Frei's last tie in UEFA competition. Switzerland's 42-goal all-time top scorer has announced he will hang up his boots in June.
• Raúl Bobadilla – who moved to Basel after scoring five in the group stage for BSC Young Boys but is not eligible for this tie – is level with Inter's Rodrigo Palacio and S.S. Lazio's Libor Kozák in second place in this season's scorers rankings. SSC Napoli's Edinson Cavani tops the table with seven.
• Murat Yakin replaced Heiko Vogel as Basel coach in October. The older brother of fellow former Swiss international Hakan Yakin, he was capped 49 times as a defender and represented Grasshopper Club, VfB Stuttgart, Fenerbahçe SK and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, but enjoyed his best seasons as captain of Basel, leading them to three league titles and two Swiss Cups. He has also coached FC Concordia Basel, FC Thun and FC Luzern.
• An industrious midfielder in his playing days, Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti started his managerial career in 1993/94 with former club Empoli FC and forged his reputation at Udinese Calcio before leading AS Roma to two UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Hired by Zenit in December 2009, he has won two Russian titles.
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