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CFR Cluj and Basel eager to avoid early slip

The two less-fancied sides from Group E, CFR 1907 Cluj and FC Basel 1893, square off on Matchday 1 determined to get some points on the board with potentially sterner tests to come.

CFR Cluj and Basel eager to avoid early slip
CFR Cluj and Basel eager to avoid early slip ©UEFA.com

After a first taste of UEFA Champions League football in 2008/09, CFR 1907 Cluj have come back for more this season and the Romanian titleholders kick off their Group E campaign at home against FC Basel 1893.

Match background
• CFR, who replaced coach Andrea Mandorlini with Sorin Cârţu on Monday, will hope for the kind of start they produced on their UEFA Champions League debut two years ago when they won 2-1 at AS Roma – who are also in this pool, as are last season's runners-up FC Bayern München – then drew 0-0 at home with Chelsea FC. However, the four straight defeats that followed left them bottom of the section.

• CFR also made a bright start in last term's UEFA Europa League group stage, where they opened with a 2-0 home victory against FC København. Yet again they ended up bottom of their group, however, this time after losing their remaining five fixtures.

• Basel have already won twice away from home in this season's competition. The Swiss champions prevailed 2-0 at Debreceni VSC in the first leg of a third qualifying round tie they eventually won 5-1 on aggregate. In the play-off against FC Sheriff, they earned an emphatic 3-0 second-leg win in Moldova to secure a 4-0 overall victory.

• Basel recorded a 1-1 draw at eventual winners FC Barcelona in their last UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 2008/09, but lost their other five games. They also failed to negotiate the group stage of last season's UEFA Europa League despite collecting nine points, coming third behind Roma and Fulham FC.

• Basel's only other previous UEFA Champions League group stage venture came in 2002/03 when they reached the last 16.

• For Basel this is the first trip to Romania, and CFR similarly have never faced Swiss opposition before.

Team ties
• Basel coach Thorsten Fink suffered defeat on Romanian soil in a 1996/97 UEFA Cup first round tie at FC Rapid Bucureşti while playing for a Karlsruher SC side who went down 1-0 in Bucharest but bounced back 4-1 at home. Fink had earlier helped Karlsruhe past FC Universitatea Craiova in the same season's UEFA Intertoto Cup competition.

• Yssouf Koné finished on the losing side when he last lined up against Samuel Inkoom, Basel's Ghana defender, Inkoom's Black Stars earning a 1-0 win against Koné's Burkina Faso in the group stage of the 2010 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in January.

• CFR midfielder Sixto Peralta and Basel forward Federico Almerares had a brief spell together as team-mates at CA River Plate in their native Argentina in 2007.