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UEFA Europa League Preview: Salzburg v Basel

Red Bull Salzburg take the slight upper hand into their UEFA Europa League last-16 second leg at home to Basel.

The Austrian outfit settled for a 0-0 stalemate in their away leg in Switzerland and hold a perfect record at home in the Europa League this season.

The draw at Basel snapped Salzburg’s 16-match winning streak in all competitions, although Roger Schmidt’s men bounced back with a 5-0 win over Wolfsberger AC in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Similarly, Basel enjoyed a 5-0 league win over Aarau to find their feet after the home stalemate.

Salzburg’s form at home extends beyond their five wins in the 2013-14 Europa League, as they have been beaten once at their Red Bull Arena fortress since August 2012.

They have won 14 in succession at home, including European wins over Zalgiris (5-0), Elfsborg (4-0), Standard Liege (2-1), Esbjerg (3-0) and Ajax (3-1).

Conversely, Basel have not won an away fixture in the Europa League in their past 10 outings in the second-tier continental competition, but they travel to Austria in the knowledge a score draw in regulation time would see them progress to the quarter-finals.

Murat Yakin’s Basel have had success away from home in the UEFA Champions League, chalking up wins at Ludogorets and Chelsea earlier in the 2013-14 campaign, before they bowed out in the group stage to join the Europa League knockout rounds.

They began their journey in the last-32, dispatching of Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-0 on aggregate, as they look to at least emulate their semi-final appearance from the 2012-13 season.

It will be a tough task against home-town favourites Salzburg, though, who have been the highest scoring side in the competition this term with 21 goals.

Firing in a third of those has been tournament top-scorer Jonatan Soriano, who has recently had to refute suggestions he was Salzburg’s equivalent of Lionel Messi.

Salzburg’s Kevin Kampl and Alan are tied for the most assists, with four apiece.

Tue 18 March, 2014
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