Our prediction for this Europa Conference League match:
All eyes will be on National Stadion Vasil Levski when CSKA Sofia and Basel face each other in the Europa Conference League playoffs, first leg. CSKA set up a meeting with Basel by beating St. Patricks in the double-header, and, to make, things even better for the fans, the capital club defeated Septemvri Sofia in their last league match. Keep in mind, though, that important defender Bradley de Nooijer misses Thursday’s game through suspension.
The Rotblau, on the other hand, aim to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to Lugano. Basel produce much better showings at home than on the travels, and seeing that CSKA Sofia are tough to beat in Bulgaria, the share of spoils is on the horizon in the first leg. As for the visiting side, experienced midfielder Fabian Frei is widely expected to return to the starting XI after he was rested in the last league fixture.
Highlighted Player (Thomas Lam):
Thomas Lam is a footballer who can play as both centre back and defensive midfielder. Lam was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 18 December, 1993, but seeing that his mother is Finnish, he was eligible to play for the Finland national team.
After making 11 appearances for the Finland U21 team, he made his debut for the senior team on 9 June, 2015, in a friendly against Estonia. He started the game, but the Finns suffered a 2-0 loss to the Estonians in Turku. Speaking of his club career, Thomas Lam played for AZ Alkmaar between 2011 and 2014 and then he joined fellow Eredivisie side Zwolle.
The 188-cm-tall footballer scored four goals in 64 appearances for the club and in July 2016 he signed a contract with Nottingham Forest. Lam won the KVNB Cup with AZ Alkmaar in 2013 and he was named Promising Player of the Year in 2011. His agent is world-famous Mino Raiola and his contract with Forest expires on 30 June, 2018.
Highlighted Team (Basel):
One of the most successful football clubs in Switzerland, FC Basel were founded in 1893. The RotBlau as they are referred to by the Swiss play their games at the St. Jacob Park in Basel in front of 37,500 people which is the maximum capacity of the venue.
The 19-time Swiss champions have endured difficult times in 1980s which ultimately led to relegation from the top flight in 1987. FC Basel returned to the top tier of Swiss football in 2000s to win their first league title in 22 years and go on to win it nine more times over 13 seasons since 2002. The golden times for FC Basel brought European inclusion in every season since 1999-2000 with a pinnacle being the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2012-13.
The RotBlau have so far played over 95 UEFA Champions League games, winning almost half of their European outings. The Swiss club has produced plenty of talented players who went on to become prominent footballers all across Europe with Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka being the most outstanding members of the latest generation.