(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
On Thursday evening, in the last home game of the year, FCB face a Turkish club in a group stage in the European Cup. Surprisingly enough, Rotblau has been in 16 different groups over the past 17 years with teams from 18 different countries, but a Turkish team has never been one of them. Trabzonspor is the first club from Turkey to play in Basel, since Malatyaspor (1st round of the UEFA Cup in 2003) 16 years ago.
For the Turkish top club, the duel against FCB doesn’t have too much significance. It is already clear that Trabzonspor will finish the group in last place. The Turks won their only point in the home game against FCB. In the second leg they will want to collect a few more points and finish the group stage on a high.
We have rarely been in such a situation. we should win the group.
FCB have already qualified for the round of the last 32. In contrast to the Turks, Rotblau´s encounter with Tranbzonspor still has significance. The current group leaders can secure their spot at the top of the group without any help from the other teams. It´s in their own hands.
THERE ARE ADVANTAGES BY WINNING THE GROUP
It would be beneficial to win the group, as the group winner receives half a million euros more than the second placed team. The final group standing also has a direct impact on the opponents FCB could face in the next round. Thus, the twelve group winners of the Europa League and the fourth best, third placed teams from the group stages of the Champions League are seeded. The draw for the next round takes place in Nyon, on Monday 1pm.
FC Basel 1893 can achieve this goal (1st place) on their own. With a win they would have 13 points (previous club record from 2015) and would therefore no longer be able to be overtaken by Getafe CF or FC Krasnodar. The above mentioned teams face eachother in central Spain and will play for qualification for the round of the last 32. The winner qualifies for the next round. In case of a draw Getafe would claim second place qualify.
The club record for the most points won is not relevant to me, the first place however means a lot more. Not only because of the possible opponent we will face, but also because we can play the return leg fixtue of the next round at St. Jakob-Park.
The excitement and suspense is likely to be greater in the duel between Getafe and Krasnodar, rather than FCB´s fixture in Basel against Krasnodar. FCB is in a comfortable starting position ahead of the last group stage game at home. In 2015, FCB had already qualified before the last round, but then had to compete away at KKS Lech Poznan
Van Wolfswinkel is back
Thursday night´s fixture will not feature Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Kevin Bua and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The Dutchman trained with the team for the first time on Wednesday after an aneurysm was discovered in his head in August, which required medical care. However, he will not be able to participate in the team´s training sessions. Headers and body contact are still strictly prohibited for the Dutch striker.
Eric Ramires is back in training but he will not play this year. Noah Okafor might be able to play against Trabzonspor on Thursday but this is not certain. For the last FCB home game of the year, almost 17,000 tickets were sold by Wednesday afternoon.