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  Monday, 12 August, 2002, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Basel fired up and ready
Christian Gimenez (right) and Mario Cantaluppi celebrate second-round victory
Gimenez (right) celebrates a goal against MSK Zilina
Celtic v Basel | Champions League third qualifying round first leg | Wed 14 August 1915 BST

Seven games into the new season and FC Basel are the only unbeaten team in the Swiss First Division.

A 4-0 victory over FC Zurich on Sunday lifted them to second in the table and provided the perfect preparation for the Champions League third qualifying round first leg at Celtic Park.


We have no reason to underestimate any of our opponents or act arrogantly
FC Basel coach
Christian Gross

The Ravens, as Basel are sometimes known, overcame MSK Zilina in the second qualifying round last week with a 4-1 aggregate victory.

They qualified for Europe after winning the Swiss League by five points from FC Lugano last year.

It was their first league title for 27 years and was swiftly followed by a Swiss Cup final victory over Grasshoppers of Zurich, 2-1 after extra time.

This represented a Double triumph for former Spurs coach Christian Gross, who has presided over their recent revival.

FC Basel were formed in 1893 and as such are one of the oldest clubs in Switzerland.

Last season's triumph was their ninth league title in the past 110 years. They have now won the Swiss Cup six times.

Mario Cantaluppi, Christian Gimenez and Julio Hernan Rossi celebrate the opening goal last week
Cantaluppi, Gimenez and Rossi celebrate the opening goal last week

Prolific Striker Gimenez Christian was the league's joint top scorer last season, with 28 goals.

He had also led the charts the previous season when playing for FC Lugano and already has four goals in seven games so far this season.

And the goal machine scored two more in the second-round second leg last week.

This summer, Gross has linked him up front with Lugano's leading scorer from last season, Julio Hernan Rossi.

And he has strengthened his squad further by signing Swiss international midfielder Antonio Esposito on a two-year deal from St Etienne in France.

Despite their recent success, Gross is taking nothing for granted this season. "We have no reason to underestimate any of our opponents or act arrogantly," he said.

Investment company Enic Sports, the company that owns Spurs, has an 11.8% shareholding in the company that owns FC Basel.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
"Hartson will be available for Celtic"
Basel coach Christian Gross
"I expect a tough match"
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill
"We're capable of winning but it'll be tight"

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