Basel v Porto preview

A 1-0 win over Bayern Munich electrified the Swiss city and gave rise to hope and expectation that they could clinch a major scalp and become one of the best eight clubs on the continent for only the second time in their history.

Those dreams lasted no more than three weeks, however. A 7-0 defeat in the reverse leg saw Bayern put them firmly in their place.

Undeterred by that upset, Basel have since gone on to enjoy their best two years in Europe, going all the way to the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2012-13 while making it to the quarter-finals of the same competition last season.

Having seemingly outgrown Europe’s second club competition, the Bebbi are back to take another shot at joining Europe’s elite club of eight when they face 1987 and 2004 winners Porto.

“Basel have taken on an impressive growth and we worked very hard for all of the respect we are now being shown,” said forward Marco Streller, one of the survivors of the tie with Bayern, to the Neuer Zurcher Zeitung newspaper.

“Ten years ago, people in Germany would laugh about us. Now, even Bundesliga clubs are interested in seeing how we’ve made it into Europe’s top 20.

“It’s an unbelievable situation, and we’ve deserved to be in it after coming through the tough group we were in.

“That’s what makes us most proud. 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.”

It is an opportunity they will therefore be keen to grasp with both hands, having avoided the more illustrious names in the draw to stand a better chance of progressing under the guidance of Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa.

“He’s very knowledgeable and always extremely well prepared,” added Streller.

“I read the accusations about him not taking the (Swiss) league seriously and all I could do was shake my head.

“In every meeting we have, he proves the opposite. He studies before every game to find the right tactics. It’s a constant dialogue with Sousa. He wants to know everything.

“I think his ambition and his diligence are underestimated by many experts.”

Basel lead the Swiss Super League by eight points from Young Boys with two games played since the winter break.

Porto, meanwhile, are second in the Portuguese top flight, four points behind Benfica, while their president Lourenco Pinto is confident his side will extend their European campaign by eliminating Basel.

“It’s a difficult tie, but I’m convinced that Porto will go through,” he said as the team departed for Switzerland on Tuesday, adding that “a scoring draw would be a good result” at the St-Jakob Park.

“A win would be even better,” he said.