The Europa League group stage resumes this week with 24 matches – one today and 23 on Thursday – all over Europe. We aren’t going to cover them all, instead focusing on four matches that have been viewed as closer than others according to various prognosticators, or feature clubs that we are following for other reasons.
At the moment, the current favorite is a club that is still toiling away in Champions League, with Red Bull Salzburg having a 10% chance of winning the tournament according to FiveThirtyEight. Of the clubs currently playing in Europa League’s group stage, however, the favorite is Manchester United, and the Red Devils currently have an 8% chance of taking home the cup.
Our next preview of Thursday’s action is also between two clubs that are fairly even before kickoff, and it makes sense as they are battling for the top spot in Group C. First place Basel will welcome second place Getafe to Switzerland, with the match kicking off from St. Jakob-Park at 6:55pm CET (12:55pm EST) on Thursday night.
Like we did with our other previews today, we’ll cover how things are going for the clubs back home, and recap what has happened through the first half of the group stage for both clubs. We’ll wrap up with a look at the history between the two clubs – if they have any – and what the odds look like for the match and beyond.
Without further ado, here’s a look at the clubs:
Domestic League Performance
FC Basel was founded in 1893 and has found massive success in the Swiss Super League, winning 20 league titles over the course of their history. They have not won a league title since the 2016-17 season, which capped an eight-season run at the top of the league, and have finished in second place – behind Young Boys – the past two seasons.
That’s where they find themselves again 13 matches into this season, only one point behind Young Boys at the moment. They have surrendered the fewest goals in the league thus far (13), while also tying for the lead in goals scored (30), and as a result, lead the league in goal differential (+17) for the time being.
Spanish club Getafe recently returned to La Liga after a season in the second division, and have spent 15 of the past 16 seasons in the top tier of Spanish football. Last season’s fifth place finish was their best ever in La Liga, moving up three spots from the previous season and besting a 6th place finish during the 2009-10 season.
They are slightly behind that pace this season, currently in 7th place with 19 points and a 5-4-3 record. The three losses were at least to three of the top five clubs – Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla – and with two-thirds of the season remaining, they have plenty of time to try and move back into a European competition placement.
Basel has played beyond the group stage in European competition, with a trip to the Round of 16 (four times) in Champions League and reaching the quarterfinals in Europa League as recently as 2012-13. They began this season’s European campaign in Champions League, defeating PSV Eindhoven in the second qualifying round and losing to LASK in the third. After moving to Europa League, they were drawn into Group C and are currently in first place with seven points through three matches.
Getafe’s European history is much more limited considering their mid-table finishes over the last decade and a half in Spain. This is their first appearance in Europa League since they reached the group stage during the 2010-11 competition when they finished third behind Stuttgart and Young Boys.
This season, they were luck enough to qualify directly for Europa League’s group stage, and only have Matchday 3’s loss to Basel as a blemish on their record at the moment. They have struggled to score, netting only three goals through three games, but they are still comfortably in second place with six points, three points ahead of Krasnodar.
That Matchday 3 meeting was the first time the clubs had ever met in a competition, and Basel prevailed in Spain with a 1-0 victory behind an early goal from Fabian Frei. Getafe had to feel good about holding Basel to the lone goal, especially with the Swiss club entering the match with seven goals through the first two matches.
With the action shifting to Basel, the experts at FiveThirtyEight give a very narrow edge to the home squad, with FC Basel winning in 39% of simulations and Getafe doing so 35% of the time. It’s no wonder that two clubs battling for the top of the group would be so evenly matched.
Overall, the clubs have about an equal chance of advancing to the Round of 32, so the result from this one match probably won’t matter for anything but seeding when all is said and done. In that regard, Basel has a 53% chance of finishing in first, while Getafe checks in at 40%, with Krasnodar and Trabzonspor with seemingly outside chances of making it. Furthermore, Basel may have the advantage in facing Trabzonspor on Matchday 6 – especially at home – but they also beat Krasnodar by five goals in their earlier match too.
Until next time…