Degen confident over chances

Former Liverpool right-back Philipp Degen is hoping to make history with boyhood club Basle on Thursday night.

Last Updated: 10/04/13 at 20:20 Post Comment   

Valentin Stocker celebrates his first-leg goal

Valentin Stocker celebrates his first-leg goal

Former Liverpool right-back Philipp Degen is hoping to make history with boyhood club Basle on Thursday by reaching the Europa League semi-finals at the expense of Tottenham.

Last week the Swiss champions pulled off the shock of the round by securing a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane, making them favourites heading into Thursday's return leg at St Jakob-Park.

Basle go into the match on a run of four successive home Europa League wins and in the knowledge that a place in club history is just 90 minutes away.

FCB have never previously made the semi-finals of a European competition, although Degen insists confidence rather than nervousness is the overriding emotion.

"We are not at all nervous," the academy graduate said. "We have shown good performances already in Europe this season.

"Everyone knows what they are capable of and there is a lot of anticipation in the team but we are all very focused.

"There is enough experience in the team to know what is at stake. It will be a decisive match to decide if we will go through.

"We could write history for the club, that would be a great success, but there are 90 minutes left.

"We will take on the challenge, everyone will give their best and we are ready for the match tomorrow."

Degen has a unique perspective on Tottenham as the only Basle player to have plied their trade in England.

The Switzerland international spent three unsuccessful years with Liverpool up until 2011 and believes Spurs are a better side than when he left.

"The whole club has developed further, immensely you could say," Degen said.

"They are striving for the top four positions every season. They want to win titles.

"Of course they want to win, want to win the title, the expectations are very high.

"I mean Gareth Bale, when I was playing for Liverpool, was left-back whereas now he is more offensive.

"You could say Tottenham have developed very well and so have their expectations for the team."

Degen missed the first leg through injury but coach Murat Yakin confirmed he will start tomorrow.

Cabral and Park Joo-ho are also available while Marco Streller has overcome a knock and is able to feature.

"We are happy to be in the quarter-finals and to have achieved a good result in the first leg," coach Yakin said.

"We are well prepared, the team showed last week that we can keep up with top teams and the top English teams.

"It will be an open, balanced match. Everything is possible. Last week we showed surprises are possible. It's 50/50.

"We will advance if we start well. We have a good chance to progress if we show the same performance as last week.

"We are very confident about the game and we will see what happens."


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