(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
The fixture against Greece´s cup winners and runners up in the national league is of great importance for both clubs, as the result will decide on which direction it will go in regards to qualification in European competition. The winner of the fixture can still qualify for the UEFA Champions League and is will secure a place in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. The team which loses the fixture must go through two more qualification rounds in order to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. The Europa League group stage is FCB minimal goal.
To be honest, Basel´s optimism has been higher in the past, prior to a knock-out 2nd leg fixture. It hasn’t often been the case that FCB were trailing behind and needed to collect necessary points during a home game fixture. In this millennial, this has only happened three times- two out of the three times, FCB were victorious, even if it came down to the last seconds of the game.
Unforgettable victories against Saint-Étienne and Celtic
In 2008 FCB faced Sporting Clube de Portugal from Lisbon in the 1/16 stage of the Europa League and lost both away (0:2) and at home (0:3). However, whenever FCB where able to score an away goal, their chances remained somewhat intact. For example, when FCB faced AS Saint-Étienne during the same stage of the competition, two and a half years ago, they secured a lucky 2:1 win at home after a 2:3 defeat in France.
In 2002, FCB faced Celtic FC in the last Champions League qualification round and lost 1:3 in Glasgow but won 2:0 at home. Chriss Sutton nearly scored just before the ref ended the fixture, putting a whole team and an entire city on edge. Sutton´s shot just clipped past the outside post. This historic moment lies 16 years in the past but feels like yesterday for many supporters and players, which can be a reason for motivation before this important fixture.
FCB´s fixture against PAOK FC has the potential to become a milestone and another positive notch in FCB´s history books. In order to do so, FCB need to show an improvement compared to the 1st leg fixture and become more cold-blooded in front of the opponents goal. It might seem strange from an FCB perspective, but Basel´s draw against Neuchâtel Xamax FCS was a step in the right direction; The first points of the season.
Quotes from Tuesday´s press conference:
Mathematically PAOK FC have an advantage as they need a draw to qualify. FCB want to win every fixture and that’s the mentality we will have when we play tomorrow.
Football is psychology, therefore there is no point to show my team the negative phases of the last fixture.
The situation is difficult and the pressure is on. I am optimistic that we will qualify. The atmosphere within the team is good, the team is alive.