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Marco Streller told uefa.com a fear of finishing the UEFA Champions League group stage with the worst record of all 32 teams could be the catalyst for FC Basel 1893's first Group C victory when they face Sporting Clube de Portugal on Tuesday.
A solitary point is all the Swiss champions have to show for their five outings to date, the joint-lowest total alongside FC Steaua Bucureşti. Yet while the Romanian outfit can still aspire to UEFA Cup qualification from Group F, Basel have no such consolation and are instead concentrating solely on securing a win at St. Jakob-Park. "It's extremely important for us and the fans," said the Swiss international forward. "I think that with four points things wouldn't look so bad, but with just one we would be the worst team in the Champions League. It would be good for our self-confidence if we won."
Morale was boosted temporarily by a surprise 1-1 draw at FC Barcelona on Matchday 4, a significant improvement on the 5-0 thrashing the Catalan club had administered on their visit to Switzerland in late October. Basel also conceded five as they saw their ambitions of claiming third place extinguished at FC Shakhtar Donetsk last time out, and Streller believes that defeat could spur them to repeat their Camp Nou heroics against a Sporting side guaranteed second position in the section. "We lost to Barcelona and then played well after it," said the 27-year-old. "Sporting are an excellent side, but there's a lot of prestige at stake for us. We're extremely motivated to play in the Champions League, and we have to try and make up for our defeat against Shakhtar."
Injury ruled Streller out of Basel's group-stage opener against Shakhtar in September, but the former VfB Stuttgart attacker recognised the damage done by the Ukrainian champions' 2-1 victory in Switzerland. "We had to start well. We had to try and not concede any goals and then anything would have been possible," he added. "
Now we want to put on a show for our fans. It's the Champions League, it's unique, and we have to play hard all season long in the Swiss league to earn our place in it for next season."
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