UEFA Europa League: FC Basel v CSKA Sofia

CSKA Sofia will travel to FC Basel on November 5 in their UEFA Europa League Group E encounter in the hope that they can salvage a result from this tough away clash.

The Sofia Reds are currently bottom of the group with one point, while Basel are top with six, followed by Fulham in second with five and AS Roma in third with four points. The previous match between the Bulgarians and Basel was in Sofia on October 22, which the Reds lost 2-0.

Should CSKA register another defeat in the competition, while, concurrently, Fulham beat Roma away, the Bulgarian side will be out of contention for the further stages of the competition.

CSKA will enter the fray on the back of domestic turmoil, having lost a crunch league encounter on November 2 against Litex Lovech, which also prompted the team’s head coach Lyuboslav Penev to take drastic measures against nine players whom he accused of being responsible for the loss, by partying away the night before the match and breaking curfew.

However, club authorities decided to end the “punishment” of nine players who were reportedly “sacked” three days ago, and said they would be reinstated in the first team after the League Europa clash with Basel.

“We will return all of them, they were just temporarily ousted from the team, but I will have them back,” said club president Dimitar Borissov.

CSKA Sofia and FC Basel had never met in their European history prior to the October 22 encounter in Sofia, which was also Basel’s first ever match Bulgarian opposition, while CSKA’s two previous away trips Switzerland both ended in defeat.

Following this round, the Reds will visit London where they have a date with Fulham while Basel will travel to the Eternal City and take on Roma on December 3 2009.

Kickoff between FC Basel and CSKA Sofia is at 9pm Bulgarian time.