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Dnipro must besiege Basel

Published: Friday 15 February 2013, 4.00CET
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk must chisel open FC Basel 1893 stubborn defence if they are to win a first springtime European tie and reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
Dnipro must besiege Basel
Dnipro's Denys Kulakov and Basel's Valentin Stocker in the snow ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Friday 15 February 2013, 4.00CET

Dnipro must besiege Basel

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk must chisel open FC Basel 1893 stubborn defence if they are to win a first springtime European tie and reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Defeat in Switzerland last week has left FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk needing to crack open FC Basel 1893's miserly defence to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• On a snowy night in Switzerland, Valentin Stocker converted from six metres (23) and then set up Marco Streller (67) to head his fourth goal of the campaign as Basel completed a fourth successive European game without conceding.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time in UEFA club competition last week.

• Dnipro have now played four games against Swiss sides with the record W2 D0 L2 (W1 D0 L0 at home – W1 D0 L2 in Switzerland).

• Basel's prior experience of Ukrainian opposition amounts to three games against FC Shakhtar Donetsk: a 2-2 home draw in the 1996 UEFA Intertoto Cup and a pair of 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage meetings – they lost 2-1 at home and 5-0 in Donetsk.

Match background
• Dnipro are on a five-game winning streak at home in Europe, and have won their last four UEFA Europa League home fixtures by margins of two goals or more.

• Basel have scored just once in their last four European away games, though two of those fixtures ended 0-0.

• Basel last appeared in the round of 32 in 2010/11, bowing out to FC Spartak Moskva, with Sporting Clube de Portugal getting the better of them at the same stage in 2007/08. Until last week, they had not won a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League game in the new year since 2005/06, when they reached the quarter-finals – their best ever performance in the competition.

• Group F winners Dnipro have reached the round of 32 for the first time since bowing out to FK Partizan in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup. They have yet to win a UEFA club competition game in the new year in nine attempts (W0 D4 L5).

Team facts
• Dnipro remain the UEFA Europa League's top scorers with 16 goals this season, though Chelsea FC are now one ahead of them in terms of total goals since the start of the group stage: 16 in the UEFA Champions League and one more in the UEFA Europa League.

• The next goal Dnipro concede will be the 100th they have let past them in UEFA club competition; this is their 86th UEFA game.

• Edinson Cavani remains the UEFA Europa League's top scorer with seven goals, but there are now three players level in second place on five goals: S.S. Lazio's Libor Kozák, FC Internazionale Milano's Rodrigo Palacio and Raúl Bobadilla, who has moved to Basel since hitting five in the group stage for BSC Young Boys (but is ineligible to play in the knockout rounds). 

• This could be Basel striker Alexander Frei's last competitive tie in UEFA competition. Switzerland's 42-goal all-time top scorer has announced he will hang up his boots in June.

• Dnipro coach Juande Ramos famously won the UEFA Cup in successive seasons with Sevilla in 2005/06 and 2006/07, with the one-time lower-league midfielder going on to win the English League Cup at Tottenham Hotspur FC and then take charge of Real Madrid CF and (for just 47 days) PFC CSKA Moskva. He has been in command at Dnipro since October 2010.

• Ramos' 37 wins in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League as a coach leave him level in fourth place with the late Sir Bobby Robson in the all-time rankings.

• Ramos is one of only three coaches to have won this competition more than once. Luis Molowny led Real Madrid CF to consecutive titles in 1985 and 1986 while Giovanni Trapattoni is the most successful UEFA Cup coach with three wins – two with Juventus (1976/77 & 1992/93) and one with FC Internazionale Milano (1990/91).

• Murat Yakin replaced German coach 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 later coached FC Concordia Basel, FC Thun and FC Luzern.

Round of 16: Basel/Dnipro v FC Zenit St Petersburg/Liverpool FC
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.

• Basel and Liverpool met in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage, drawing 1-1 at Anfield and 3-3 in Switzerland. Basel led that latter game 3-0 at the break, but while the Reds fought back, they could not secure the win that would have seen them steal a qualification place from their opponents.

Last updated: 01/05/13 9.18CET