Swiss side FC Basel may be going for broke when they host Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto in a Champions League Round-of-16 matchup at St Jakob-Park on Wednesday.
Porto are considered the favorites by most pundits. The two-time Champions League winner (1987, 2004) advanced out of their group in the top spot with a strong showing (four wins, two draws), while Basel took second place in a group dominated by Real Madrid. Basel just edged out Liverpool to advance.
Porto is coming off a 1- 0 win in the Portuguese Liga over Giumaraes last Friday. Basel last played on Saturday, drawing 1-1 with Swiss Super League opponent FC Sion Sitten.
Striker Jackson Martínez, who has been linked to a transfer to the Premier League in recent years, leads the Porto attack. The Colombian also leads the Primeira Liga in goals (20) this season. Silvestre Varela is second on the club with five goals.
Basel sit atop the Swiss Super League and feature top-scorer Shkelzen Gashi, who has netted 13 goals. Gashi has been listed as doubtful for the match, which means manager Paulo Sousa may need to take more chances with his attack.
The last time Basel made the Round of 16 was three years ago, when the Swiss side shocked Bayern Munich, 1-0. Bayern emphatically won the second leg 7-0 to eliminate the underdog club.
Forward Marco Streller, who played in Basel's last knockout stage match, told the Neuer Zurcher Zeitung newspaper that it will be a challenge to compete with Porto, but that the side will be ready, as reported by ESPNFC.
"That's what makes us most proud," he said. "If we get through this round, then that would be comparable with the biggest achievement in the club's history."
"We're probably right at our limit in the Champions League, but we're unlikely to get an opportunity like this one again any time soon."
Porto manager Julen Lopetegui is seeking a strong effort from his attack to earn at the very least an away goal. Sousa, on the other hand, will try to ensure his place in Basel lore by advancing his squad to the quarterfinals by pulling off a minor miracle with an unseasoned roster.
Prediction: Porto will be too much for Basel in an a hotly contested match. The knockout stage match will be tight, but Porto comes away with a win.
Porto 2 - 1 Basel
Kickoff time: 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Fox Soccer Plus
Live Stream: Fox Sports 2 Go