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Basel prepared for Dnipro assault

FC Basel 1893's watertight defence will provide a stern test for free-scoring FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who have yet to win a game in UEFA competition in the springtime.

Alexander Frei (centre) is involved in his final European campaign before retirement
Alexander Frei (centre) is involved in his final European campaign before retirement ©Getty Images

FC Basel 1893 will look to keep a run of clean sheets going in the UEFA Europa League against FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who scored 16 goals in the group stage.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• Basel's experience of Ukrainian opposition amounts to three games against FC Shakhtar Donetsk: a 2-2 home draw in the 1996 UEFA Intertoto Cup and a pair of 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage meetings – they lost 2-1 at home and 5-0 in Donetsk.

• Dnipro have also played three games against Swiss sides with the record W2 D0 L1 (W1 D0 L0 at home – W1 D0 L1 in Switzerland).

Match background
• Group G runners-up in the autumn, Basel are unbeaten in three European home games (W2 D1) and have not conceded in any of them.

• Dnipro have scored at least twice in all eight of their fixtures in Europe this season, but they have conceded as many as they have scored on the road – nine. All those goals have added up to two wins, a draw and a defeat on their 2012/13 travels.

• Basel last appeared in the round of 32 in 2010/11, bowing out to FC Spartak Moskva, with Sporting Clube de Portugal getting the better of them at the same stage in 2007/08. They have not won a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League game in the new year since 2005/06, when they reached the quarter-finals – their best ever performance in the competition.

• Group F winners Dnipro have reached the round of 32 for the first time since bowing out to FK Partizan in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup. They have yet to win a UEFA club competition game in the new year in eight attempts (W0 D4 L4).

Team facts
• Basel reserve goalkeeper Mirko Salvi celebrates his 19th birthday on the day of the game.

• Basel's twins Philipp and David Degen turn 30 the day after the first leg.

• Dnipro defender Samuel Inkoom went out on loan to SC Bastia during the winter break having previously played for Basel from 2009 until he joined his current side in January 2011. He was a member of the Basel side that won the 2009/10 Swiss title.

• This could be Basel striker Alexander Frei's last competitive tie in UEFA competition. Switzerland's 42-goal all-time top scorer has announced he will hang up his boots in June.

• Of the sides in the round of 32, Dnipro and Chelsea FC – who were also the highest scoring side in the UEFA Champions League group stage – have been the most prolific clubs this season, with 16 goals each.

• Murat Yakin replaced German coach Heiko Vogel as Basel coach in October. The older brother of fellow former Swiss international Hakan Yakin, he was capped 49 times as a defender and represented Grasshopper Club, VfB Stuttgart, Fenerbahçe SK and 1. FC Kaiserslautern, but enjoyed his best seasons as captain of Basel, leading them to three league titles and two Swiss Cups. He later coached FC Concordia Basel, FC Thun and FC Luzern.

• Dnipro coach Juande Ramos famously won the UEFA Cup in successive seasons with Sevilla in 2005/06 and 2006/07, with the one-time lower-league midfielder going on to win the English League Cup at Tottenham Hotspur FC and then take charge of Real Madrid CF and (for just 47 days) PFC CSKA Moskva. He has been in command at Dnipro since October 2010.

• Ramos' 37 wins in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League as a coach leave him level in fourth place with the late Sir Bobby Robson in the all-time rankings.

• Ramos is one of only three coaches to have won this competition more than once. Luis Molowny led Real Madrid CF to consecutive titles in 1985 and 1986 while Giovanni Trapattoni is the most successful UEFA Cup coach with three wins – two with Juventus (1976/77 & 1992/93) and one with FC Internazionale Milano (1990/91).

Round of 16: Basel/Dnipro v FC Zenit St Petersburg/Liverpool FC
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.

• Basel and Liverpool met in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage, drawing 1-1 at Anfield and 3-3 in Switzerland. Basel led that latter game 3-0 at the break, but while the Reds fought back, they could not secure the win that would have seen them steal a qualification place from their opponents.

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