Leading 4-2 from the first leg in Bulgaria, FC Basel 1893 will look to make sure of a fifth group stage appearance when they host PFC Ludogorets Razgrad at St. Jakob-Park.
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FC Basel 1893 stand on the brink of a fifth UEFA Champions League group stage appearance as they welcome PFC Ludogorets Razgrad to Switzerland holding a 4-2 advantage from the play-off first leg.
• Ludogorets earned a surprise 1-0 win at FK Partizan in the last round but overturning a two-goal deficit at St. Jakob-Park would constitute a considerably bigger shock.
• Basel came from behind to win the first-leg encounter in Bulgaria. After Murat Yakin's men had taken the lead through Mohamed Salah (12), Marcelinho (23) and Ivan Stoyanov (50) struck to put Ludogorets 2-1 ahead, yet the Swiss champions responded with Salah again (59), Giovanni Sio (64) and Fabian Schär (84, pen) all finding the net. Júnior Caiçara was sent off for Ludogorets.
• Ludogorets will make their first trip to Switzerland with only a slim chance of becoming the second Bulgarian team after PFC Levski Sofia in 2006/07 to play in the group stage.
• Basel are unbeaten in seven home matches in Europe, including a 1-0 success against Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC in the third qualifying round. The Swiss club have won eight of the nine European ties in which they gained a two-goal advantage in the first leg.
• The only exception to that rule was their 2005/06 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough FC when Basel won 2-0 at home but went down 4-1 to the English club at the Riverside Stadium.
• Basel suffered a scare in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup first round when they won the first leg 2-0 at Turkey's Malatyaspor but fell two goals behind back at St. Jakob-Park before Marco Streller's extra-time strike secured a 3-2 aggregate win.
• Bulgarian champions Ludogorets had only ever played one European tie before this season – losing to a GNK Dinamo Zagreb goal eight minutes into added time in last season's second qualifying round just as an away-goals triumph beckoned.
• Ludogorets set out on this season's qualifying road with coach Ivaylo Petev at the helm but he departed after the 2-1 first-leg loss at ŠK Slovan Bratislava in the second qualifying round. Successor Stoicho Stoev oversaw a 3-0 second-leg home win over Slovan and the Razgrad club then defeated Serbia's Partizan both home and away in the next round for a 3-1 aggregate success.
• Basel's three previous appearances in the group stage came in 2002/03, 2008/09 and 2010/11.
• Basel's record at this last stage of qualifying is W3 L3. They slipped up against CFR 1907 Cluj in the play-offs 12 months ago, losing 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.
• The Swiss side found a subsequent silver lining last season in the shape of a long run in the UEFA Europa League. They advanced all the way to the last four – their first European semi-final – where they lost to eventual winners Chelsea FC.
• Basel's only previous meeting with Bulgarian opposition came in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage when they took on PFC CSKA Sofia. Alexander Frei earned them a 2-0 win in Sofia and scored another two in the return, with Marcos Gelabert also on target in a 3-1 home victory.
• Stoev was in the PFC Lokomotiv Sofia team beaten on away goals by Neuchâtel Xamax FC in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup second round, drawing 1-1 at home and 0-0 in Switzerland. Stoev's goalkeeping coach Nikolai Donev also played in both matches.
• As assistant coach of Grasshopper Club, Basel's Yakin saw his team earn a 4-0 aggregate win in the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup against a PSFC Chernomorets Burgas side that included Vladislav Stoyanov and Michel.
• Behrang Safari, Valentin Stocker, Streller and Massimo Colomba – now Basel goalkeeping coach – all featured in Basel's 2009 victories against a CSKA side including Ivan Stoyanov, Michel and Yordan Minev. Also in the CSKA ranks was Ivan Ivanov, now a Basel player but ineligible for this tie having been part of the Partizan team beaten by Ludogorets in the last round.
• Stocker and Streller played in Switzerland's goalless draw in Bulgaria in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in 2011. Vladislav Stoyanov was an unused substitute for the home side.
• Vladislav Stoyanov has already faced Basel in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, losing 4-0 on aggregate with FC Sheriff in 2010/11. Stocker scored past him to give Basel a 1-0 home win in the first leg, with Streller getting one of Basel's three goals in the return.