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United Defeated By Basel On ‘Miracle’ Night

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It’s been an amazing last 24 hours for me as a Basel fan. Who would have thought that we could have beaten out the mighty Manchester United to seal our place through to the Last 16 of the Champions League at their expense. Just who would have though it? Not me for one!

I was asked early on Monday if I would be able to put down a few lines about the game to tell you my point of view but I would never have expected that it will be that difficult to just put down how I feel about the game.

On one hand – it’s still unbelievable for me, for Basel, even for the whole of Switzerland.

On the other hand, I don’t want to rub salt into your wounds. How often did we – FC Basel or even our national football team – lose “the” most important game – I can imagine the atmosphere right now on the fan sites.

Over here in Switzerland, in Basel we still can’t believe it – FC Basel made it into the round of the last 16 teams.  After the game there started a party in the center of Basel, thousands of FCB Supporters celebrating with the team and the staff- similar to how we usually celebrate when we’ve wrapped up our domestic league title.

There are a lot of reasons for that triumph and I would like to list them!

The Team

As a “regular” supporter you don’t get to much information about the internal belongings of an team. But all the time, a player has to give an interview – one part is always, how strong the team is, how they can profit of the experience of each other. They found a great way to work together.

The Old & New President

First of all – the new president Bernhard Heussler, officially he starts in January 12. He is following Gisela Oeri, who was the first female Football President in Switzerland, beneficiary of the Owners of Roche Industry.

She did a great job for five years as president, looked for the right people for the right job, with her effort (and her money), Basel is in the position it is today. Since half a year, Heussler is the new President – he knows what to do, representing, being the one in the front, to give space to the staff, that they can do their job.

Coach Heiko Vogel

For years, Heiko Vogel has been the Assistant Coach to Thorsten Fink, first at Ingoldstadt in the German second division and then since for the last two years at Basel. Form 98 – 07 Vogel used to be Trainer at the Junior teams at Bayern Munich. In the same time he meets Fink during his studies to become a coach.

After Fink left Basel last October to join Hamburg, Heiko Vogel became our ‘interim’ Coach. He had to lead the team through a difficult phase, trying to reach the top of the League, Swiss national Cup and also Champions League. He’s done a great job and in all the three campaigns we are ending in the right direction.

There are not too many differences in management style between Fink and Vogel but there are two that stand out. Firstly and the most obvious difference between the two is the way they communicate about the team to the media.

For example, Fink used to say: “I gave the advice to do it like that, the team followed my instructions…” Vogel is different and says “we” and “us” and “the whole team” and always make sure that he praises the players which obviously boosts their encouragement a lot.

Vogel’s also known as a great motivator and for being a ‘thinking’ coach. It’s also known, that he’s the one, with the worst ideas for a Joke and always good for a lough. It’s still unusual for us to see him in the suit instead of the short pants in the coaching zone during the games!

As confirmation for his great job – it’s normal, that after a goal, the players often go and give a big hug to Vogel – I haven’t seen a player from United would do that with Sir Ferguson – I also couldn’t imagine that…

For the moment, he’s still not confirmed as the club’s permanent coach – but seriously, who else than Vogel should lead that team to the next onto success?

Basel supporters

Basel can always count on the biggest number of supporters in Switzerland, as you could see – very creative with choruses, with singing and chanting. They have become a real 12th man on the pitch who really made a difference during periods where we looked to be struggling against United.

…So now, what will be the future for my Basel?

Our dream keeps on going, what will be the next step in the Champion League. Will there be a chance for us to possibly get into the quarters and surprise another team. Will there be a chance, to score like we did it against United? We will see it soon!

But there is also an backside of our recent success – Finally, even the last scout from all over Europe will have by now seen our talented youngsters like great little Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka or Markus Steinhofer, the experienced defender David Abraham or Aleksandar Dragovic or the goalkeeper with raw potential in Yann Sommer.

What do you think – where do this young players want to play?

In the “Axpo Super League Switzerland” or “Premiere League”, “La Liga” or “Serie A,” It’s an easy choice when you think of it.

All of us, we know the answer. I’m sure – soon you will see one of these players also in the Premier League.

That means, next season all the great young players are gone, bought by the “big clubs” and the FCB has to rebuild a new team.

The Swiss league is too small, the technical level to low, it can’t be the goal of a young player to stay in Switzerland. But we are very happy if the “old ones” are coming back to their roots, like Marco Streller and Alexander Frei have done

These experienced players are the backbone of our team, the motivators and the engines, and then, such an effort like against United is not impossible – even next year in the Champions League, when we have to go through the qualification again – with a new team.

By Martin