(Translated by Thomas Snatih)
FCB have been drawn the UEFA Europa League champions of the past two years; therefore, Sevilla FC can be considered favorites. Before the fixture, coach Urs Fischer was focused on his opponent and not on their trophies: “We want a positive result. I don´t care who is considered to be the favorite team. Both the role of the underdog and that of the favorite has it´s dangers. We are aware that we need to perform at the highest level in order to succeed.”
Even if it has it´s advantages by playing on home soil in the 1st leg, it´s going to be a tough challenge. It´s going to be important to pave the way for the return leg in Spain. Fischer commented: “That means we need to score at least one goal at home and not concede any”. The fact that FCB´s most recent fixture against Lugano was cancelled due to snow, does not provide an additional advantage for FCB nor disadvantage. “We will see” stated Fischer, “we had a training session on Sunday and it was great. Our team would have been ready for a competitive fixture. I don’t know if we will be able to build up the same suspense as previously but I know that my team can handle this situation.”
Bjarnason is back
Bjarnason, who broke is hand in the home fixture against AS Saint-Étienne, is back in training. There is a possibility that he may play against Sevilla FC. Manuel Akanji, Jean-Paul Boëtius and Andraz Sporar are injured. Breel Embolo is suspended and Naser Aliji is not licensed to play UEFA Europa League Football.
Even though Urs Fischer mentioned that he is not fond of statistics, some may be of interest. Sevilla FC have so far not won a single away game in their domestic league nor in the UEFA Europa League. The Spanish side is however 5th in the Spanish league, underlining the danger they express on home turf. Based on the stats, FCB should manage to achieve a positive result at St. Jakob-Park, especially as FCB have never won on Spanish soil.
Never failed in last 16 stage of the competition
First off, FCB must face Sevilla FC at home. This fixture is only possible due to that fact that FC Basel 1893 managed to fight their way back against Saint-Étienne. FCB scored 2:1 in added time.” We live for those moments, coaches and players”, mentioned Fischer. “It was not only sensational for me, but for the players and the entire stadium.” On Thursday night, a step towards ¼ finals could be made. Who knows; FCB have never failed in the last 16 stage of the competition.