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Basel will push toon all the way.

Byline: By Alan Oliver

Newcastle United will get a taste of their own medicine in Thursday's UEFA Cup second round first leg with FC Basel in Switzerland.

That's the view of someone who knows the Swiss side well - former Sunderland defender Bernt Haas.

And Haas should know what he is talking about as he used to play in Christian Gross's side and also helped West Brom beat United at St James' Park in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night.

Haas believes Sir Bobby Robson's side will just have the edge providing they can handle the 33,000 capacity crowd who are as legendary in Switzerland as the Toon Army is in England.

The 24-year-old full-back played 11 games for Basel in the Champions League last season while he was on loan from Sunderland.

Speaking at St James' Park on Wednesday night, Haas insisted: "It will be a very tough game because United and Basel are two quality sides. But I think Newcastle have that little bit extra and if they can get a good result in Switzerland then I would expect them to win their game at home.

"Both clubs were in the Champions League last season and they will have learned a lot from that experience.

"There will be about 30,000 fans at the match but I'm sure they could get 100,000 for the game if there were enough seats.

"The Basel fans are crazy about football. They are like the fans in the North East of England for their passion.

"Like Newcastle, Basel were very disappointed not to get back into the Champions League this season but they will want to do well in the UEFA Cup and then hope to join the elite next time round.

This season they have won every game apart from one which they drew in their domestic league so they will be in form when Newcastle go to Switzerland.

"Last season we played Liverpool and Manchester United and the manager Christian Gross was very keen to do well against the English clubs because he had a nightmare at Tottenham when he was boss.

"He always made us train hard for those games with sessions twice a day and he made us study videos of their games and I'm sure he'll do the same before the Newcastle match."
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Title Annotation:Sport NUFC
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:387
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