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

Friday, 28 November 2014
16:00
Estoril v PSV  
Thursday, 11 December 2014
18:00
A Limassol v Villarreal  
Besiktas v Tottenham  
M'gladbach v FC Zurich  
Club Brugge v HJK Helsinki  
Din Zagreb v Celtic  
Dnipro v St Etienne  
FC Cop'hagen v Torino  
Karabakh-Azersu v Inter  
PSV v D Moscow  

Footer 365

La Liga: David Moyes says he wants to 'excite' Real Sociedad fans ahead of Elche clash

David Moyes wants to "excite" Real Sociedad fans in his first home game in charge of the Basque club against Elche.

Europa League: Benjamin Stambouli fires Tottenham to win over Partizan Belgrade

Benjamin Stambouli's strike earned Tottenham a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade and a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Europa League: Trabzonspor and Fiorentina among teams to reach last 32

Trabzonspor and Fiorentina were among the teams to progress to the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday night.

Mail Box

Arsenal Fans Are Full Of Hope Again...

Arsenal fans have been sucked back into believing Wenger can bring the glory years back after beating Borussia Dortmund. Plus, more on Liverpool's worrying decline...

Makes Sense To Make Gerrard Liverpool Manager

That's the thoughts of one Mailboxer, who wants Jamie Carragher as defensive coach. Plus views on Arsenal, Malmo v Juventus, Alexis Sanchez & tremendous improvement...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property