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Basel and Benfica set for summit meeting

Caretaker coach Heiko Vogel says FC Basel 1893 can lay a "good foundation" for qualification from Group C by beating SL Benfica, whose coach knows what the Swiss side can do.

Heiko Vogel presides over Basel's training session on Monday
Heiko Vogel presides over Basel's training session on Monday ©Getty Images

In caretaker charge following the departure of Thorsten Fink, Heiko Vogel views the visit of co-leaders SL Benfica as the perfect opportunity for FC Basel 1893 to strengthen their position atop UEFA Champions League Group C. Opposite number Jorge Jesus knows the size of the challenge facing Benfica after Basel "showed what they are capable of" when they drew 3-3 with Manchester United FC on matchday two.

Coach Heiko Vogel

They are a team with lots of talented players who can make the difference. I could name [Óscar] Cardozo up front or Pablo Aimar − we've got to keep an eye on them. We're in our stadium, though, and we want to impose ourselves, be courageous and go out there to play our game.

Two tactically good teams are facing each other and we both share a similar philosophy, based on possession. Both sides know what is at stake and that a good foundation can be laid tomorrow, but I expect it to be an even game, hopefully with a few highlights for the fans.

I expect the atmosphere to be excellent, like it has always been here. Enough has been said about the change in coach and the focus should be on the game, out of respect for the players. For Basel, the important thing is this game, not how I am or how Thorsten Fink is getting on in Hamburg.

Satturday, Swiss Cup: FC Schötz 1-5 FC Basel 1893 (Koch 84; Andrist 8 57, Huggel 34, Zoua 79, A Frei 89)
Colomba; T Xhaka, Ajeti, Kováč, Park; Andrist (A Frei 80), Huggel (G Xhaka 67), Cabral, F Frei (Schürpf 71); Chipperfield, Zoua

• Basel are now nine games unbeaten after knocking their third division hosts out in the last 32. Alexander Frei has nine goals in six games, including three penalties.

Team news
Marco Streller was rested on Saturday because of a muscle strain. Valentin Stocker (knee ligaments), Gilles Yapi (knee ligaments) and Kay Voser (ankle) are sidelined but Genséric Kusunga is back in training after a knee injury.

Coach Jorge Jesus

I know Basel very well. They are a team with plenty of international players, not just Swiss but other nationalities, too. They have lots of quality in attack with [Alexander and Fabian] Frei. Basel showed in England [against Manchester United] what kind of quality they have in their squad and that draw was no accident. They showed what they are capable of and we know exactly what we are up against.

The only headache I have concerns my tactical selection, but we have lots of different options in different positions and there is a good battle for places, which ensures that all of the players have to give their best. Although Thorsten Fink is no longer there, the way he played will be ingrained in them and they will probably play the same way.

Weekend result
Saturday, Portuguese Cup:
Portimonense SC 0-2 SL Benfica (Bruno César 59, Rodrigo 72)
Eduardo; Miguel Vítor, Luisão, Garay, Capdevila; Matić, David Simão (Witsel 56), Bruno César, Nolito; Rodrigo (Rodrigo Mora 78), Nélson Oliveira (Saviola 46)

• Also in cup action, Benfica are now in the fourth round after an away win against second division opposition. Eduardo, Nélson Oliveira and David Simão made debuts in a much-changed side and Rodrigo opened his Benfica account as they moved to 14 unbeaten this season.

Team news
Javi García has missed the last two games with a calf injury, while Enzo Peréz remains absent with a knee problem.

Match fact
Basel will look to provide another parallel with their best UEFA Champions League campaign to date by claiming a second straight home success to add to their opening defeat of FC Oţelul Galaţi. Not since 2002/03 and the second group stage have they posted more than one win at St. Jakob-Park in a UEFA Champions League group phase. In that same section, they drew at Manchester United, a feat that they repeated on matchday two.

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