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Middlesbrough facing uphill struggle

Middlesbrough FC need to bounce back from their heaviest defeat in the UEFA Cup this season after FC Basel 1893 built up a 2-0 lead in the first leg.

• Prior to that success, Basel had beaten English opposition only once in their nine previous encounters in Europe and that came in the first meeting, against Sheffield Wednesday FC in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup. Alexandre Rey's 68th-minute strike earned a 1-0 win at St. Jakob-Park. Since then Basel have failed to emerge victorious in two games against each of Aston Villa FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC and Newcastle United FC, although the win against Middlesbrough ended that disappointing sequence.

• By contrast, Middlesbrough had never met Swiss opposition before their win against Grasshopper-Club in this season's UEFA Cup group stage as a Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink goal gave the Teesside team victory in Zurich on 20 October. The visit of Basel will therefore be their first home fixture against Swiss opponents.

• Christian Gross's side booked their place in the last eight with victory in their Round of 16 tie against RC Strasbourg. Goals from Argentinian midfielder Delgado and Zdravko Kuzmanovic set Basel on course for the quarter-finals, but Middlesbrough will be encouraged to learn that Basel did concede twice in the return leg in France. Goals from Rudy Carlier and Cedric Kanté gave Strasbourg hope before an Eduardo double kept Basel in the UEFA Cup.

• Reaching the last eight looked unlikely when Basel opened their UEFA Cup group stage account with a home defeat against Strasbourg. They bounced back with narrow wins against FK Crvena Zvezda and Tromsø IL but had no answer to AS Roma in their final group outing as they lost 3-1. However, with Strasbourg holding Crvena Zvezda elsewhere, the side from the north of Switzerland still qualified. Their reward was a Round of 32 tie with AS Monaco FC, and Degen's strike set Basel on course in the first leg in Switzerland. They still had much to do in the Principality, especially after Christian Vieri levelled matters with an early spot-kick, before defender Daniel Majstorovic restored Basel's aggregate advantage.

• Steve McClaren's side booked their place in the last eight with an impressive aggregate victory against in-form Roma. Yakubu Ayegbeni scored the only goal of the first leg from the penalty spot after just 12 minutes and Hasselbaink's 32nd-minute strike at the Stadio Olimpico in the return left the Serie A side needing to score three times. They managed two, both from Mancini, although a third proved elusive as they bowed out.

• In the Round of 32 Middlesbrough could afford a 1-0 second-leg defeat against VfB Stuttgart at the Riverside stadium and still seal a place in the last 16 courtesy of the away-goals rule. Goals in each half from Hasselbaink and Stuart Parnaby gave Middlesbrough the upper hand at the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, and although Danijel Ljuboja's late free-kick kept the Bundesliga team in contention, the lead proved insurmountable. The second leg nevertheless brought the side's first defeat of the tournament, after easing through the group stage with three victories, scoring six unanswered goals to defeat Grasshoppers, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and PFC Litex Lovech, and a goalless draw at AZ Alkmaar.

• Before facing Middlesbrough, Basel's most recent meeting with an English side came with Middlesbrough's north-east rivals Newcastle in the second round of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup. Two goals in the space of four first-half minutes from Mario Cantaluppi and Scott Chipperfield put Basel in charge of the first leg in Switzerland, but Newcastle fought back, eventually earning a narrow 3-2 advantage through Shola Ameobi with 15 minutes remaining. Boris Smiljanic's own goal then sealed Basel's fate after 14 minutes of the return.