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CSKA Moskva welcome Basel for pivotal encounter

A first meeting between CSKA Moskva and Basel gives each the chance to take the initiative in the race to hang on to Manchester United's coat-tails in Group A.

CSKA Moskva's winning run was halted on matchday two
CSKA Moskva's winning run was halted on matchday two ©AFP/Getty Images

PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Basel 1893 are level on points in Group A, and their fixtures in first Russia then Switzerland are likely to have a significant say in the outcome of the section.

• The teams, who are meeting for the first time, are both on three points with a win and a defeat each, although it is CSKA who hold the historical edge having won all four of their previous games against a Swiss club.

Match background

CSKA Moskva
• CSKA have won all their previous meetings with Swiss opposition, including getting the better of BSC Young Boys in this season's play-off round (1-0 away, 2-0 home).

• The Moscow club's only other encounters against a Swiss side came in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage, when they recorded two emphatic victories against Lausanne-Sport. CSKA won 3-0 in Lausanne and 5-1 back in Moscow.

• Russian Premier League runners-up in 2016/17, the Moscow club are in the group stage for an 11th time, and a fifth straight season.

• CSKA have come bottom of their group in their last four UEFA Champions League campaigns. In 2016/17, having qualified automatically for the group phase, they finished behind AS Monaco FC, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur FC in their section.

• CSKA won their first five European fixtures this term, the first four without conceding a goal, and triumphed 2-1 at SL Benfica on matchday one, but went down 4-1 at home to Manchester United FC last time out, their heaviest home defeat in European competition. 

• CSKA were without a win in their last five European home games before a 1-0 second-leg success over AEK Athens FC in the third qualifying round. They beat Young Boys 2-0 in Moscow in their ensuing play-off, the United defeat meaning they have won two of their last three home fixtures.

• Their 2-0 first-leg triumph at AEK ended CSKA's run of ten European matches without a win (D4 L6). The victory at Benfica was their first in the UEFA Champions League group stage since a 3-2 home win against PSV Eindhoven on 30 September 2015; subsequently their record had been D4 L6.

• This is Basel's first trip to Russia since a 1-0 loss at FC Zenit in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 16; the Swiss side still won that tie 2-1 on aggregate.

• That was Basel's first defeat in Russia since a 3-2 loss at SC Rotor Volgograd in the 1996 UEFA Intertoto Cup group stage. Their record away to Russian clubs is W1 D2 L3 – the sole victory was a 2-0 triumph in Moscow, at FC Spartak Moskva in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage.

• Bebbi's overall record against Russian teams is W5 D2 L4. They have won only one of the last four.

• Basel were 5-0 home winners against SL Benfica on matchday two – their biggest UEFA Champions League victory.

• The Benfica success ended a winless run of nine European matches, home and away (D3 L6), since a 2-1 home success against AS Saint-Étienne on 25 February 2016.

• Basel qualified by winning an eighth successive Swiss title in 2016/17.

• This is their eighth group stage campaign, and their fourth in five years. Last term they came fourth in Group A, collecting just two points from their six outings.

• Basel have not won in six European away matches (D1 L5) having won four of their previous five.

Coach and player links
• As a player, Basel coach Raphaël Wicky conceded a penalty during Switzerland's 2-2 draw against Russia in UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying; Sergei Ignashevich scored from the spot, one of his two goals in the game.

• Wicky was in the Hamburger SV team beaten 1-0 at CSKA in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Alan Dzagoev scored twice in Russia's 4-1 group stage defeat of Marek Suchý and the Czech Republic at UEFA EURO 2012.

• Suchý played for Spartak Moskva between 2010 and 2013, making eight appearances against CSKA (W2 D2 L4). He was sent off in a 2-1 defeat in April 2012 but celebrated a 3-0 home Spartak win in his last game against CSKA, on 22 September 2013.

• Basel's Geoffroy Serey Dié was captain of the Ivory Coast team that beat Russia 2-0 in a friendly last March. Igor Akinfeev and Aleksandr Golovin started, Viktor Vasin and Mario Fernandes were unused substitutes.

• International team-mates:
Pontus Wernbloom & Alexander Fransson (Sweden)

• Have played together:
Aaron Olanare and Mohamed Elyounoussi (Sarpsborg 08 FF, 2013)

• Has played in Switzerland:
Georgi Milanov (Grasshopper-Club Zürich, 2016)

Match facts

CSKA Moskva
• Pontus Wernbloom and Aleksandr Golovin are both a booking away from a ban.

• Igor Akinfeev has not kept a clean sheet in 45 outings in the UEFA Champions League proper, since a goalless draw at Arsenal FC on 1 November 2006.

• CSKA were four matches without a win in all competitions prior to Saturday's 1-0 victory away to FC Krasnodar.

• The Army Men have kept five successive clean sheets in the Russian Premier League. Akinfeev was voted CSKA player of the month in September.

• Golovin (ankle) and Alan Dzagoev (Achilles) missed Russia's October friendlies against South Korea (4-2) and Iran (1-1).

• Vasili Berezutski (calf) and Wernbloom (wound) have also been sidelined, though the latter was an unused substitute against Krasnodar.

• Akinfeev won his 102th cap against South Korea. Only Viktor Onopko (109), now CSKA assistant coach, and club-mate Sergei Ignashevich (120) have managed more.

• Taulant Xhaka is a booking away from a ban.

• Basel have 18 points from 11 Swiss Super League fixtures this term – 13 fewer than they had at the same stage last year.

• The Bebbi lost three of their opening eight league games this term, one more than they suffered in the whole of last season.

• Mohamed Elyounoussi scored a hat-trick in Norway's 8-0 win in San Marino on 5 October in the European Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup.

• Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who has scored eight goals in 12 appearances this season (half of them penalties), suffered a broken metatarsal against Benfica on matchday two.

• On 2 October, Basel announced the signing of Swiss under-21 forward Albian Ajeti from FC St Gallen.