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Basel face up to Sporting hoodoo

FC Basel 1893 will have to improve an ominous record against Sporting Clube de Portugal when the two teams meet in their UEFA Europa League Group G curtain-raiser.

Heiko Vogel's Basel 1893 will have to overcome the weight of history to beat Sporting
Heiko Vogel's Basel 1893 will have to overcome the weight of history to beat Sporting ©Getty Images

Sporting Clube de Portugal will look to continue their 100% record against FC Basel 1893 as the sides meet for a fifth time in less than five years in UEFA Europa League Group G.

Previous meetings 
• Sporting have won all four of the sides' previous encounters without conceding a goal: Paulo Bento's Sporting eliminating Christian Gross' Basel from the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 32 and then beat them 2-0 at home and 1-0 away in the UEFA Champions League group stage the following season.

• The teams for their first meeting in Lisbon on 13 February 2008, a 2-0 home win, were: 
Sporting: Rui Patrício*, Abel, Tonel, Anderson Polga, Leandro Grimi, Miguel Veloso, Izmailov* (Pereirinha* 72), Romagnoli, Vukčević (Rodrigo Tiuí 72), João Moutinho, Liedson.
Basel: Costanzo (Crayton 45), Malick Ba, Marque, Majstorovic, Hodel, Huggel, Ergić, Carlitos, David Degen* (Cabral* 64), Derdiyok, Eduardo.

• The teams for their most recent Lisbon encounter, another 2-0 home win on 1 October 2008, were:
Sporting: Rui Patrício*, Anderson Polga, Derlei, Tonel, Leandro Grimi, Hélder Postiga (Djaló 73), Miguel Veloso, Rochemback (Vukčević 46), João Moutinho, Romagnoli (Pereirinha* 87), Abel.
Basel: Costanzo, Gelabert (Ergić 60), Gjasula, Huggel, Streller* (Mustafi 79), Chipperfield (Perović 82), Abraham, Safari, Ferati, Carlitos*, Zanni.

* registered to play for the club in 2012/13.

Match background
• Including previous games against Basel, Sporting's record in 12 games against Swiss clubs reads W8 D2 L2 (W4 D1 L1 at home – W4 D1 L1 in Switzerland).

• Basel's eight games against Portuguese opponents ended W1 D2 L5 (W1 D0 L3 at home – W0 D2 L2 in Portugal). That sole 2-1 win was at home against Guimaraes side Vitória SC in the third qualifying round of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League.

• Sporting are competing in this group stage for the fifth time (and the fourth time in as many seasons). They have never failed to progress to the knockout stage.

• Sporting have won their last nine European home games, and are unbeaten in 13 UEFA fixtures (12 wins and a draw) at the José Alvalade Stadium.

• Basel have played in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the last four seasons, and are returning for a fifth tilt at this stage of this competition, having made it through to the knockout phase in three of their four previous attempts.

Team facts
• Sporting's Marat Izmailov celebrates his 30th birthday the day after the game.

• Sporting boast Swiss international talent in the form of defensive midfielder Gelson Fernandes, who was born in Portuguese-speaking Cape Verde but started his footballing career in Switzerland with FC Sion.

• Basel's Phillipp Degen and Sporting's Emiliano Insúa were team-mates at Liverpool FC, playing together at Anfield from 2008-10.

• Sporting's coach is Ricardo Sá Pinto, who won 45 caps for Portugal and represented Sporting twice as a player – winning a title and two Portuguese Cups – as well as playing up front for Real Sociedad de Fútbol in Spain and R. Standard de Liège in Belgium. Sporting hired him as coach in February 2012 – it is his first major appointment as a first-team boss.

• Basel coach Heiko Vogel never played at professional level, turning out as a midfielder in the regional leagues in Germany while training as a sports teacher. He would eventually take charge of FC Bayern München's youngsters, before assisting Thorsten Fink at Bavarian side FC Ingolstadt 04. He followed Fink to Basel in 2009, and stayed on to take the top job after Fink left for Hamburger SV in October 2011.