November 22, 2012
Schaars: Pressure is on Basle
Team Stat Comparison
|FC Basel||Sporting Lisbon|
|Goals for *||2.0||0.3|
|Goals against *||0.7||2.7|
|Last 5 home||L-D-W-W-W||W-D-D-W|
|Last 5 away||L-D-L-D-D||L-L-L-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: FC Basel | Sporting Lisbon|
Sporting Lisbon midfielder Stijn Schaars believes his side will be the underdogs in Thursday's Europa League clash against FC Basle.
The Portuguese side are bottom of Group G with just two points and a defeat in Switzerland would spell the end of their European campaign this season.
A win for coach Franky Vercauteren would keep Sporting's Europa League dream alive into their final group match against Hungarian side Videoton, but they would need a win and have to rely on other results if they are to progress.
However, that would all count for nothing if they are beaten by third-placed Basle, who they trail by three points.
Schaars, who will miss the decisive match through suspension, is remaining confident Sporting can win and build on their 1-0 domestic win over Braga.
"The favourite doesn't always win,'' the Dutch midfielder told www.sporting.pt.
"I just hope that the team is prepared, because we can only move forward in the Europa League if we win.
"The win against Braga gave us confidence and I hope that we will now see a better Sporting.''
Basle will still have it all to play for in their final group game against table-toppers Genk regardless of the result against Sporting.
The Swiss side are only one point behind Videoton with two games left to play, but must overcome a more than 450-minute goal drought against Sporting if they want to boost their chances on Thursday night.
Basle could only manage a 0-0 draw against their Portuguese counterparts in Lisbon earlier in their Europa League campaign despite their opponents being reduced to 10-men for most of the second half after Xandao was sent off.
They will now face Sporting in the knowledge that one of their most influential players, striker and Switzerland's record scorer Alexander Frei, will retire at the end of the season. Frei, 33, told reporters last week: "I've come to realise that there are more important things than victories and defeats.
"I want to make sure I am firing on all cylinders right until the end.''