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Basel eye double

Will Basel be partying again on Sunday? Keystone

Football league champions FC Basel will be looking to cap off their successful season on Sunday with victory in the Swiss Cup final.

This content was published on May 11, 2002 - 10:28

A win over arch-rivals Grasshoppers Zurich would see Basel clinch the league and cup double for the first time in 35 years. And with Sunday's match taking place in their own St Jakob stadium, Christian Gross's men will be big favourites against the league runners-up.

Despite finishing ten points behind Basel in the final standings, Grasshoppers will not see themselves as rank outsiders, having beaten the champions in three of their four meetings this season.

Concentrated

"My players will have to be a good deal more concentrated than the team which faced St Gallen on Wednesday," reckoned Grasshoppers coach Marcel Koller after seeing his team held to a 3-3 draw in their final league game of the season.

The return of veteran Swiss defender Marc Hodel should help Koller's team keep things tighter at the back on Sunday, although much more interest is likely to be focussed on fellow veteran Stéphane Chapuisat as he makes his last appearance for the Zurich side.

The former Champions League winner is set to move to Bern Young Boys in the summer and is sure to be fired up for his final match as a Grasshopper. Talented Uruguayan forward Richard Nuñez and Brazilian forward Eduardo will also be looking for a way past the mean Basel defence.

Basel absentees

Basel have two players missing for Sunday's showdown with midfielder Benjamin Huggel out injured and South African forward George Koumantarakis suspended. In place of Koumantarakis, Gross will have to decide between young Swiss star Hakan Yakin and Cameroonian striker Hervé Tum.

One area in which Basel will clearly have the advantage is that of home support. Unlike last year's final between the French-speaking clubs of Servette and Yverdon, this season's final has seen huge demand for tickets.

All 33,000 tickets for Sunday's game were snapped up within two hours of going on sale. Unfortunately for Grasshoppers it's estimated that 30,000 of those tickets have been bought up by the home fans.

swissinfo with agencies

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