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Group D: Basel ready to battle

Published: Friday 15 November 2002, 14.47CET
Werner Schneeberger says FC Basel will find the second group stage "emotional". features

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Published: Friday 15 November 2002, 14.47CET

Group D: Basel ready to battle

Werner Schneeberger says FC Basel will find the second group stage "emotional".

FC Basel club secretary Werner Schneeberger admitted the UEFA Champions League second group stage will be "emotional" for the Swiss title-holders, after being drawn against former winners Manchester United FC and Juventus FC as well as 2001/02 quarter-finalists RC Deportivo La Coruña.

'We are happy'
Schneeberger said following the draw: "If you are playing in Switzerland then you are happy that you are entering the second group stage. Group D is perfect. We are going to have six very emotional battles and we are happy.”

Preparing for United
Basel made progress with a dramatic 3-3 Matchday Six draw at home to Liverpool FC, but Schneeberger added: "Everybody was happy, we had a lot of emotion. We were celebrating but right now that is over and we are preparing for Manchester United on 26 November here in Switzerland."

Confident mood
Deportivo president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro was in confident mood ahead of rematches against United and Juventus. The Spanish side beat United twice in last season's first group stage, before being defeated by the English side in both legs of the quarter-finals - Deportivo having progressed to the last eight at Juventus' expense, picking up four points against the Italians.

'Very diffcult to qualify'
Lendoiro said: "At this stage it is impossible to get an easy group. It is going to be very difficult to qualify, but Manchester United and Juventus won't find it easy either as both sides have experienced defeat against Deportivo."

Sir Alex upbeat
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was also upbeat despite facing two further meetings with Deportivo, and a renewal of rivalries with Juventus, who they knocked out on the way to winning the competition in 1998/99.

'We have progressed'
"I am not sick of the sight of Deportivo, just playing them in the second stage means we have progressed," said Sir Alex. "I hope we meet again later on. There was a spell where we got Juventus three years on the trot so it does not bother us."

Basel return
Juventus will return to the scene of their 1983/84 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final victory when they visit Basel, as they seek to emulate their 1995/96 Champions League triumph.

Last updated: 16/11/02 21.29CET

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