DAVID SMITH - Thursday, April 11, 2013
Brad Friedel and Tottenham head into Thursday's return leg in Basel knowing that they will likely need to win in order to secure a place in the Europa League semifinal.
Clint Dempsey has been in and out of Tottenham's starting lineup as of late, however is almost certain to see extensive action in Basel's St. Jakob-Park in one form or another.
Basel shocked Spurs in last week's first leg, jumping out to a two-goal lead in White Hart Lane to put the hosts on the brink of elimination.
Tottenham did eventually fight back to net a 2-2 draw on the night, but Basel's pair of away goals have put the pressure squarely on the London team's shoulders ahead of the return leg.
A scoreless or 1-1 draw will see the Swiss team on through to the semifinals, and with Basel having scored at least one goal in every one of their European games this season, Tottenham will likely need at least a pair of goals to come away victorious.
This will be a challenge, as three of their most important attackers are set to miss the game. Most devastatingly, Gareth Bale is still set to miss thanks to an ankle injury picked up in the first leg.
Adding to their woes, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe are also set to miss the match, while William Gallas will be absent from the team's defense with a cal strain.
Basel are on the verge of history, having never advanced to a European semifinal in their 119-year history. They are currently leading the Swiss Super League, and are undoubted favorites to win a fourth straight title.
Head coach Murat Yakin will be boosted by the return of defenders Park Joo Ho and Philipp Degen along with midfielder Marcelo Diaz from suspension. The only absence is the suspended Fabian Frei.