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Basel break new ground against Chelsea

FC Basel 1893 will look to become the first Swiss side to make it to the final of a major UEFA club tournament as they take on Chelsea FC in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

Basel celebrate reaching the semi-finals
Basel celebrate reaching the semi-finals ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Basel 1893 eliminated one English side in the last round and will look to strike a significant blow against Chelsea FC in their UEFA Europa League semi-final opener.

Previous meetings
• This is the clubs' first competitive encounter.

• Basel eliminated Tottenham Hotspur FC on penalties in the quarter-finals, winning 4-1 on spot kicks after two 2-2 draws. Their record in 18 games against English clubs is now W3 D7 L8 (W3 D3 L3 in Switzerland – W0 D4 L5 in England).

• In their only previous encounter with Swiss opponents, Chelsea lost to FC St Gallen in the first round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup. They won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge then came unstuck with a 2-0 defeat at the Hardturm Stadium in Zurich. John Terry was an unused substitute in that game.

Match background
• Unbeaten at home in six matches since the start of the group stage (W4 D2), Basel have averaged exactly two goals a game at St. Jakob-Park in this season's UEFA Europa League.

• Chelsea have lost their last two away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, and four of their past five European away games. Their seven UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League away encounters have ended W2 D0 L5, with three of those defeats by two-goal margins.

• None of the four remaining teams have previously won either the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League, and Basel and Fenerbahçe are both in a European semi-final for the first time. The former are bidding to become the first European trophy-winners, or indeed finalists, from Switzerland.

• Benfica and Chelsea are the only sides left in the competition who transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage. They will be hoping to emulate the feat of inaugural victors Club Atlético de Madrid, who won the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League after entering in the knockout phase.

Team facts
• Basel are the only reigning domestic champions still in the competition. They have also played more European matches this season than any other surviving team (18), having begun their continental campaign in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

• Basel's David Degen and SL Benfica's Luisão have made 45 UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League appearances – more than any player left in the competition.

• Philipp Degen played alongside Chelsea's Yossi Benayoun and Fernando Torres during his time at Liverpool FC.

• David Degen and Chelsea's Marko Marin were team-mates at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach during the 2006/07 campaign.

• Chelsea could become the first side to win UEFA's two top club competitions in reverse order in successive seasons.

• They could also become only the fourth side to win all three of UEFA's major club competitions, joining Juventus, AFC Ajax and FC Bayern München. Chelsea won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970/71 and 1997/98, and the UEFA Champions League last season.

• Chelsea defender Terry made his 100th UEFA club competition appearance in the quarter-final second leg. Team-mate Frank Lampard (114) has featured in more UEFA club competition games than any player left in this season's UEFA Europa League, with Petr Čech (104) and Ashley Cole (102) his nearest rivals.

• Chelsea's Torres, Basel's Marco Streller and SL Benfica’s Óscar Cardozo are the highest-scoring players left in this season's competition with four goals. S.S. Lazio’s Libor Kozák tops the rankings with eight.

• Basel's Mohamed Salah, meanwhile, has provided more assists than any player left in the competition, four.

• Goalkeeper Yann Sommer, defender Aleksandar Dragovic and winger Salah have appeared in all 12 of Basel's games since the start of the group stage. Sommer has played all 1,110 minutes of the campaign – more time than any other player left in this season's competition.

• Čech, Oscar and Torres are the only players to have featured in all six matches of Chelsea's UEFA Europa League campaign, though only Čech and Torres have played all 540 minutes.

• Basel are at their most dangerous after half-time – 11 of their 16 UEFA Europa League goals this season have come after the break, six of those beyond the 76th minute.

• Basel's next goal will be their 150th in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – this is their 85th game in the competitions.

• Basel's success against Tottenham in the quarter-finals was only the second shoot-out in the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League, following this season's round of 32 tie between FC Steaua Bucureşti and AFC Ajax. As in Bucharest, the home side were triumphant from the spot.

• Murat Yakin replaced 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 midfielder, 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 has also coached FC Concordia Basel, FC Thun and FC Luzern.

• Rafael Benítez moved into coaching at a young age after injury ended his career as a midfielder, taking charge of youth and reserve teams at Real Madrid CF. He led Valencia CF to two league titles and the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, and then won the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League with Liverpool FC. He coached FC Internazionale Milano briefly in 2010/11 and replaced Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea manager in November 2012.

• Benítez's most recent UEFA Europa League experience came in 2009/10, when he led Liverpool to the semi-finals before defeat by eventual winners Atlético.

• Benítez has been in charge of 136 UEFA club competition games – more than any other coach in this season's semi-finals.

• Benítez (Valencia CF 2003/04) is the only coach left in the competition who has won the trophy previously.

Amsterdam calling
• Basel's only previous visit to Amsterdam ended in a 3-0 defeat by Rinus Michels' all-conquering Ajax at the Olympisch Stadium in the second round of the 1970/71 European Champion Clubs' Cup.

• Chelsea have yet to play a UEFA club competition game in Amsterdam, but visited the old Olympisch Stadium in the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the non-UEFA affiliated precursor to the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League - drawing 0-0 with AFC Door Wilskracht Sterk.

Basel v Benfica
• Benfica had the edge on Basel when the sides first met in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage; the Eagles won 2-0 in Basel – Óscar Cardozo scoring the second goal – then drew the return fixture 1-1 in Lisbon.

Basel v Fenerbahçe
• The teams have never met in UEFA competition. Fenerbahçe boast a notable Swiss talent in defender Reto Ziegler, who started his professional career with their domestic rivals Grasshopper-Club and has played 32 games for Switzerland.

Chelsea v Benfica
• The sides' only previous meetings came in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, with the Blues winning both legs – 1-0 in Lisbon and 2-1 in London. Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matić joined the Eagles following a spell at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea v Fenerbahçe
• Chelsea battled their way past Fenerbahçe in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals; Avram Grant's side lost 2-1 in Istanbul but turned things around with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge. Fenerbahçe's Miroslav Stoch and Raul Meireles are former Chelsea players.