Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Neo GSP stadium will host the Europa League clash between APOEL and Basel, who meet for the first time ever in a competitive match. APOEL did not make a flying start to their Europa League campaign, but thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over star-studded La Liga side Sevilla, the Cypriotes eventually advanced to the last 32 of the competitions. APOEL are tough to beat at home, but the match against Basel will be anything but a walk in the park for the hosts.
The Swiss side outclassed Zurich in their last away game in the national championship, which is surely giving fans ahead of the trip to Cyprus. Anyhow, a close encounter is on the cards at Neo GSP, and we are tempted to put our money on draw. One of the men to watch in the away team will be Kemal Ademi, who is enjoying a very successful season.
Highlighted Player (Georgios Efrem):
Born in Limassol, Cyprus on 5 July, 1989 Georgios Efrem played for his hometown club Apollon Limassol during his youth career, but in 2004 he joined Premier League club Arsenal at the age of 15. In 2007 he moved to Rangers, but he didn’t see any game action with the Gers at senior level.
The pacey winger, who is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder as well, returned to Cyprus in 2009, signing a deal with Omonia. After scoring 25 goals in 134 league appearances for the club, the 171-cm-tall footballer joined fellow Cypriot outfit APOEL on 6 June, 2014. Efrem made his debut for the club against Helsinki on 30 July, 2014 in the Europa League qualifying match.
It has to be noted that he was named the best player of the 2015/2016 Cypriot First Division campaign. The APOEL winger made his Cyprus debut on 3 March, 2010 in a goalless draw with Iceland. Four years later he scored his first ever hat-trick for the Cypriot national team in a 5-0 triumph over Andorra.
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.