- UEFA Champions League
- Group E
- 15th Sep 2010
CFR Cluj and FC Basel meet in Romania in UEFA Champions League Group E, with third spot the likely target for the two teams.
With last season's runners-up Bayern Munich and Roma also in the group, an opening game victory could go a long way to deciding whether Cluj or Basel will be playing European football after the winter break.
Both teams last competed in the Champions League group phase in 2008/09 when Cluj marked their debut by winning away to Roma and drawing at home with Chelsea.
Four defeats followed for Cluj, while the only bright spot during Basel's campaign was a draw away to eventual winners Barcelona.
Coach changeCluj's build-up to Wednesday evening's encounter has been overshadowed by a change in coach after last season's double-winning boss Andrea Mandorlini was sacked.
Sorin Cartu was appointed as Mandorlini's successor on Monday and is optimistic the players will not have been unsettled by the upheaval.
"We're trying to approach this as a normal game," said Cartu. "I trust my players and I think playing in the Champions League is motivation in itself for the players.
"On a personal level, the Champions League is an important milestone in my career, but I have had others.
"On the domestic front I've won everything so the pressure is to repeat what I've done, not necessarily better it, and return to the group stage next season."
Cluj are likely to be without Sasa Bjelanovic with the Croatian striker having been sidelined for the past month due to an ankle injury.
Basel newsBasel have already won twice away from home in the Champions League this season after victories over FC Sheriff and Debrecen in the qualifying rounds.
Coach Thorsten Fink is unsure how Cluj's change in manager will impact on the game and is setting his sights on qualification for the last 16.
Fink said: "This will be a difficult game for us as we don't quite know what to expect with the change of coach.
"There are no small teams in the Champions League; Cluj are a good side and anything is possible in football.
"We're aiming to finish second in the group even though we're third seeds, although third place wouldn't be a tragedy for us - Bayern are naturally the favourites to win the group."
The Swiss outfit are likely to be able to call on Cabral for the game after he made his first appearance in over a month against Young Boys at the weekend.
However, Jacques Zoua and Genseric Kusunga have thigh and knee injuries respectively, while Valentin Stocker will undergo a late fitness test on an ankle problem.