Crusaders vs Basel Match Analysis and Prediction

Crusaders will face Basel in the second leg of their Europa Conference League second round qualifying tie on Thursday, with the Northern Irish outfit in need of overturning a 2-0 deficit suffered in Switzerland last week.

Stephen Baxter’s side finished fourth in the Northern Irish Premiership last season, and they may have sensed a real opportunity to cause a major upset against their opponents when Taulant Xhaka was sent off in the 33rd minute.

However, Dan Ndoye found  the net only five minutes later, before Adam Szalai diverted an inswinging corner past goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey to double the Swiss side’s lead after the break.

The hosts retained possession and held onto their two-goal advantage given the predicament Xhaka had put them in, with Crusaders failing to lay a glove on their opponents despite their superiority in numbers.

Baxter will hope for home advantage to help Crusaders towards progressing beyond the qualification stages of a European competition for the first time since losing to Servette in the first round of the 1993-94 UEFA Cup.

Basel head coach Alaxander Frei, who scored 42 goals in 84 caps for Switzerland during a hugely successful playing career, will need his side to avoid complacency and keep 11 players on the field.

He would equally have been impressed with his side’s resilience and quality demonstrated during the first leg, with the foundations firmly laid for getting the job done on away territory on Thursday.

Basel’s dominance in Switzerland may have ended in recent years, but this is still a team that has reached the last-16 of the Champions League and the quarter-finals of the Europa League within the last five years.

After exiting at the last-16 stage of the inaugural Europa Conference League last season, losing to relative minnows like Crusaders would be considered nothing short of a disaster.

Crusaders vs Basel head to head

The two teams have previously met on just one occasion in the first leg of their Europa Conference League second round qualifying tie, where Basel claimed a 2-0 home victory.

Basel 2-0 Crusaders 21/07/22

Crusaders latest home form

Crusaders have recently failed to keep a good run of form at home, having won just one of their five most recent matches. They defeated Magpies 3-1 in their last home game in the Europa Conference League. In their last five matches, they have scored eight goals and conceded 11.

Crusaders 1-2 Linfield 19/04/22

Crusaders 3-3 Cliftonville 23/04/22

Crusaders 1-2 Larne 30/04/22

Crusaders 0-3 St. Mirren27/06/22

Crusaders 3-1 Magpies 14/07/22

Crusaders latest away form

Crusaders have recently failed to keep a good run of form on the road, having lost each of their two most recent matches. They lost 2-0 to Basel in their last away game in the Europa Conference League. In their last five matches, they have scored 11 goals and conceded six.

Glentoran 0-4 Crusaders 09/04/22

Coleraine 1-4 Crusaders 16/04/22

Ballymena United 1-2(E) Crusaders 07/05/22

Magpies 2-1 Crusaders 14/07/22

Basel 2-0 Crusaders 21/07/22

Basel latest home form

Basel have recently been on a good run of form at home, having been unbeaten in their seven most recent matches. They played out a 1-1 draw with Servette in their last home game in the Super League. In their last five matches, they have scored 12 goals and conceded four.

Basel 3-0 Neuchatel Xamax 18/06/22

Basel 3-2 Greuther Furth 25/06/22

Basel 3-1 Botosani 30/06/22

Basel 2-0 Crusaders 21/07/22

Basel 1-1 Servette 24/07/22

Basel latest away form

Basel have recently been on a relatively good run of form on the road, having been unbeaten in their five most recent matches. They drew 1-1 with Winterthur in their last away game in the Super League. In their last five matches, they have scored three goals and conceded three.

St. Gallen 2-2 Basel 10/04/22

Sion 0-0 Basel 18/04/22

Lausanne Sport 0-0 Basel 08/05/22

Servette 0-0 Basel 19/05/22

Winnterthur 1-1 Basel 16/07/22

Crusaders news

Crusaders could hand Robbie Weir a starting role in the midfield after the 33-year-old only features off the bench in the first leg last week in Switzerland.

Jude Winchester is likely to drop down to the substitutes’ bench as head coach Baxter looks to add experience and discipline in the engine room.

Basel news

Basel are set to be without Jean-Kevin Augustin, Kaly sene, Emmanuel Essiam, Hugo Vogel and Anton Kade due to injury, while Taulant Xhaka is unavailable due to suspension.

Darian Males could replace Xhaka to feature alongside Wouter Burger and Fabian Frei in midfield, while Kasim Adams is ineligible to feature.

Prediction and Odds

While Crusaders will feel confident with the home advantage now on their side, this should be another comfortable victory for Basel as they look to progress to the next round.

Alexander Frei is unlikely to demand too much effort from his players providing they get an early goal to kill off the tie.

Odds: 2.26 2.05 2.15

Probable outcomes

Crusaders 0-1 Basel

Crusaders 0-2 Basel

Crusaders 1-2 Basel

Crusaders 0-0 Basel

Crusaders 1-1 Basel

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