Basel v Zenit preview

Basel will hope to continue their good run at home in Europe when they meet former winners Zenit St Petersburg in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League clash on Thursday.

Last Updated: 06/03/13 at 15:53

Basel: Unbeaten in four EL games at St Jakob-Park

Basel: Unbeaten in four EL games at St Jakob-Park

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Swiss side are unbeaten in four games at St Jakob-Park and have not conceded a goal since their second group game against Genk.

Basel saw off Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the last 32, a result of which club president Bernhard Heusler was very proud.

He told Basler Zeitung: "For the first time for many years, we have eliminated a top club in the knockout phase. This is another milestone in the club's history."

Zenit, the only other reigning domestic champions left in the competition, will present an even bigger challenge, with the 2007/08 UEFA Cup winners among the big spenders in Europe.

They splashed out 40million euros on striker Hulk in September and Heusler knows how much Dnipro would have loved to go up against their neighbours.

He said: "An encounter against Zenit would have been the greatest thing for Dnipro. That our young team has defied this strong team, there can be a cruel pride."

While a clash between Dnipro and Zenit would have had more of an edge to it, Basel would probably have preferred to play Liverpool, who were knocked out on away goals by the Russians in the last 16.

Heusler admitted Basel lost money on the tie against Dnipro, but he said: "I think it makes no difference in terms of audience. It's knockout football. At some point, people have to decide whether to come for FC Basel or on account of the opponent."

Zenit will be favourites to progress but they may need to rely on their performance in the home leg.

Luciano Spalletti's side have won only once in 10 European away games and have failed to score in five of those matches, while they have not made it past the last 16 since winning the title.

Recent signing Luis Neto made his Europa League debut in the home leg against Liverpool, and was particularly impressed with the atmosphere at the Petrovsky Stadium.

He told Zenit TV: "The stadium was full. It was a good atmosphere, the fans were enthusiastic. They always push for the team, they're always singing, and it's a good experience playing at the Petrovsky."

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Europa League Fixtures

Thursday, 23 April 2015
20:05
Dnipro v Club Brugge  
Fiorentina v Dynamo Kiev  
Napoli v Wolfsburg  
Zenit v Sevilla  

Footer 365

Jamie Carragher accuses John Terry of 'tactical voting'

Jamie Carragher has accused Chelsea captain John Terry of "tactical voting" in regards to the PFA Player of the Year award.

Newcastle's John Carver admits need for positive result against Spurs

John Carver is looking for results rather than performances as he attempts to halt Newcastle United’s alarming dip in form.

Mikel Arteta close to agreeing new Arsenal deal

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is confident it will take "five minutes" to finalise a contract extension.

Mail Box

Wenger's Titles Down To United Woes...

Well, it's certainly one theory. Man United fans are out in force - decrying Wenger and defending FFP. We have mails on Coquelin, Coutinho and Mediawatch...

Mailbox: The Pros And Cons Of FFP

The mailbox has gone a little bit serious as they debate the pros and cons of FFP. Does it create a closed shop or opportunity? Plus, POTY nominations and...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company