Basel is one of the most successful clubs in Swiss football, having won the Swiss Super League 12 times, the third most for any Swiss club. They were most successful in the late 1960's and 1970's, winning the title a total of seven times between 1967 and 1980. The 1980's saw hard times for Basel as they had an absence from European competition for many years and they were relegated in 1987. In the 2000's Basel returned to the top of Swiss football; winning their first title for 22 years in 2002. In the 2005-06 season Basel lost out on the title by one goal and in the 2006-2007 season the club narrowly missed out on being crowned champions for a twelfth time, falling just one point short of eventual champions FC Zürich. This was despite the club defeating Zürich in all three of their meetings in that league campaign. Basel won the Championship in the 2007/08 season.
They have competed in European competition every season since 1999/2000. In the 2001/02 season the club reached the UEFA Intertoto Cup final, losing to Aston Villa, in the 2002/03 season they qualified for the Second Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League and in the 2005/06 season they reached the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Cup.
|Basel's famous 2002/03 team|
When St. Jakob-Park was opened in 2001, success returned. In 2002 FCB won the Double (Swiss Championship and Swiss Cup) and reached the final of the UEFA Intertoto Cup. In the following season they were the second Swiss team to ever play in the Champions League. Their first game was in the Second Qualifying Round against MŠK Žilina of Slovakia. They won 4-1 on aggregate. In the next round they faced Scottish giants Celtic F.C.. In the first leg at Celtic Park the home side won 3-1, but in the second leg at St. Jakob-Park, FCB came away with a famous 2-0 victory. This meant Basel progressed on the away goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate draw. In the First Group Stage, FCB were drawn into Group B with Valencia CF, Liverpool F.C. and FC Spartak Moscow. On Matchday One, Basel defeated Spartak 2-0 at home. Then on Matchday Two, FCB travelled to Anfield where they managed to draw 1-1 against Liverpool. After a great start to the group stage, FCB were brought back down to earth when they were defeated 6-2 by Valencia at the Estadio Mestalla. They bounced back, however, and held Valencia to a 2-2 draw in the next fixture. Basel were now sitting in second place in the group but they would still need to win at least one of their last two games and hope that Liverpool would not pick up more than two points to secure that place. In Matchday Five, Liverpool lost 1-0 to Valencia and FCB won 2-0 against Spartak at the Luzhniki Stadium. Basel's place in the last 16 was all but secured, although they still had to make sure they did not lose to Liverpool in the last game of the first group stage. On the last Matchday Basel were 3-0 at half-time through goals from Julio Hernán Rossi, Christian Eduardo Giménez and Thimothée Atouba. The second half was a different story, though, and Liverpool fought back to draw 3-3. This was still enough for FCB to qualify for the Second Group Stage. In the last 16, Basel faced Manchester United F.C., Juventus F.C. and Deportivo de La Coruña. They had a poor start, losing back to back games against Manchester United at home and Juventus away. FCB then faced Deportivo in a double-header, with the home side winning 1-0 in both games. Arguably two of FCB's greatest games came next as they held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and claimed a 2-1 victory over Juventus at St. Jakob-Park. Despite picking up the same number of points as second placed Juventus, Basel crashed out on goal difference. Basel finished second in the Swiss Super League that season and won the Swiss Cup after beating Neuchâtel Xamax 6-0 in the final.
After being the surprise package in Europe in the 2002/03 season, Basel could not bring this form into the UEFA Cup in 2003/04 as the were eliminated by Newcastle United F.C. in the second round after defeating Malatyaspor in the previous round.
The club did go on to achieve some success in the Europe in 2004/05, though, as they were dropped into the UEFA Cup after being eliminated by F.C. Internazionale Milano in the Qualification Stage of the UEFA Champions League. After they defeated Russian side FC Terek Grozny in the First Round they faced considerabley tougher opponents Feyenoord Rotterdam, FC Schalke 04, Ferencvárosi TC and Heart of Midlothian in the Group Stage. They drew 1-1 away to Schalke, were defeated 2-1 at home by Hearts, beat Ferencváros 2-1 at Stadion Albert Flórián and won 1-0 against Feyenoord at home. They finished third in the group on seven points and qualified for the Round of 32 where they were defeated 2-0 on aggregate by Lille OSC. Basel also won the Domestic Title during the 2004/05 campaign.
As Swiss champions, Basel entered the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round against German Bundesliga club SV Werder Bremen. Basel won the first leg 2-1 at St. Jakob Park but lost 3-0 at the Weserstadion in the second leg, the aggregate 4-2 in Werder's favour. Basel were then dropped into the UEFA Cup where they met NK Široki Brijeg of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the First Round. Basel sealed a 6-0 aggregate win and were drawn into Group E alongside RC Strasbourg, A.S. Roma, Red Star Belgrade and Tromsø I.L.. FCB lost the first group match 2-0 against Strasbourg at home but won 2-1 away to Red Star, giving themselves an opportunity to progress to the next round if they won their next game against Tromsø. They did in a seven-goal thriller, winning 4-3 and securing 3rd place. The last match of the group was against Italian giants Roma at the Stadio Olimpico where the Serie A club won 3-1. In the Round of 32 FCB came up against AS Monaco who they beat 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 stalemate in Monaco and a 1-0 victory for Basel in Switzerland. As Basel progressed to the last 16 they played against Strasbourg once again. FCB won the first leg 2-0 and drew 2-2 in the second leg, winning 4-2 overall. In the Quarter-Finals the club came up against Middlesbrough F.C.. FCB won 2-0 at home and looked certain to progress as they travelled to the Riverside Stadium. This was not the case, however, as the Englishmen fought back to win the match 4-1 and the tie 4-3.
On May 13 2006, the FCB lost a league game in the St. Jakob-Park for the first time since December 1, 2002, when they fell 1:2 against FC Zürich, resulting in riots and property damage by hooligans of both the FCB and their rival after the match (see 2006 Basel Hooligan Incident for more details). On February 26 2006 FC Basel broke their own club record of 52 unbeaten league games in the St. Jakob Park. The new record is 59, but the streak ended there on the final day of the season with a last-minute goal by Iulian Filipescu of FC Zürich, knocking Basel out of contention and giving Zürich their first national championship since 1980/81. A sixtieth straight home league match undefeated would have made Basel champions once again, but the final score was 1:2 in favour of Zürich.
FC Basel's European campaign started in the first qualifying stage of the UEFA Cup when they beat Kazakhi side FC Tobol 3-1 on aggregate. In the second round they played against Liechtensteiner team FC Vaduz, narrowly progressing on the away goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate draw. They were then put up against Macedonians FK Rabotnički. Basel won 6-2 at St. Jakob-Park and 1-0 at the Skopje City Stadium to qualify for the group stages where they faced tough opposition, Blackburn Rovers of England, AS Nancy of France, Feyenoord of The Netherlands and Wisła Kraków of Poland. Basel's first game came against Feyenoord at home. They came away with a respectable 1-1 draw. Their next group match was at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers. Basel played reasonably well but shaky defending became their downfall. AS Nancy, at home, were their next opponents and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Basel's last group game was against Wisła Kraków at the Wisła Stadium. FCB needed a win to qualify but their poor European campaign came to an end after losing 3-1 despite taking an early lead through Mladen Petrić.
Basel were drawn against Bosnian minnows FK Sarajevo in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup, a tie that Basel won 8-1 on aggregate. In the next round Basel faced a considerably tougher opponent in the form of SV Mattersburg of Austria. Nonetheless, Basel finished the tie off with a 4-0 away win after a 2-1 victory at St. Jakob-Park. Basel were then drawn into a 'death group' of Group D alongside SK Brann, NK Dinamo Zagreb, Hamburger SV and Stade Rennais FC, all of which were ranked within the top 3 of their own leagues at the start of the stage. Basel won their first UEFA Cup group game against Rennes at home 1-0 thanks to a Marco Streller header. Their next game was away to Dinamo Zagreb in which Basel earned a valuable away point thanks to on form goalkeeper Franco Costanzo who kept the game at 0-0 for 90 minutes. They then faced Brann at St. Jakob-Park where they won 1-0 through a Carlitos free-kick and were highly praised for playing attractive and flowing football. Basel then went to Germany to face Hamburg at the HSH Nordbank Arena where they were fortunate to escape with a 1-1 draw. The goals came courtesy of captain Ivan Ergić and Hamburg's Ivica Olić. Basel then faced Sporting Clube de Portugal in the last 32 after qualifying 2nd in the group alongside 1st placed Hamburg and 3rd placed Brann. Sporting Lisbon finished third in their group in the UEFA Champions League, which is why they were dropped into the UEFA Cup. The first leg took place on the 13th of February in Lisbon where the first choice goalkeeper, Franco Costanzo, was injured and Basel lost 2-0. The second leg did not fair any better for Basel. Costanzo remained injured and Basel lost 3-0 on the 21st of February in Basel, resulting in the knock out of the UEFA Cup.
|Basel's 2007-08 title-winning squad.|
FC Basel won the Swiss Cup for the second consecutive season after beating second-tier side AC Bellinzona 4-1 at St. Jakob-Park on Sunday 6 April 2008. Eren Derdiyok gave Basel the lead in the first half before Bellinzona equalised through Christian Pouga in the second. Daniel Majstorović restored the lead for Basel with a header and Swiss internationalists Marco Streller and Benjamin Huggel scored one goal each to make the final scoreline 4-1 in Basel's favour.
Basel won the Swiss Super League for the first time since 2005 on the 10 May 2008 at St. Jakob-Park after a 2-0 win over title threats BSC Young Boys. It was the last game of the season and Basel only needed a point from the match to win the Championship but if Young Boys won then they would be champions, the exact same situation as the end of the 2005/06 season, only it was between Basel and FC Zürich then. The painful memories of losing the league on the last day of the season in 2006 seemed to spur FCB on as they took an early lead through Valentin Stocker before Marco Streller wrapped up the victory with the second.
Basel played their opening game of the season in Bern on 18 July 2008 against BSC Young Boys, which they won 2-1 with goals coming from substitutes Marko Perović and Benjamin Huggel after Eudis put the home side ahead.
Basel entered the Champions League in the Second Qualifying Round and were drawn against IFK Göteborg of Sweden. The first leg was on 30 July 2008 at Ullevi and finished 1-1. Benjamin Huggel put Basel ahead before Thomas Olsson equalised for the home team. The second leg took place on 6 August at St. Jakob-Park; with Basel coming from behind twice to win 4-2. Pontus Wernbloom put Göteborg ahead on 19 minutes before Benjamin Huggel equalised soon after. Early in the second half Robin Söder restored Göteborg's lead. But Basel fought back, with Scott Chipperfield equalising, and Ivan Ergić scoring two late goals to give FCB a 4-2 victory. Basel then faced Vitória S.C. of Portugal in the Third Qualifying Round. The first leg at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, on August 13, ended honours even, in a 0-0 draw. The second leg took place on August 27 at St. Jakob-Park where Valentin Stocker gave Basel an early lead on 11 minutes before João Alves was fouled in the penalty area by François Marque and João Fajardo dispatched the spot-kick, just four minutes later to draw Vitória level. In the second half, the away side started well but Eren Derdiyok gave FCB a 2-1 lead which they hung on to, to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Group Stages. FCB were drawn into Group C alongside FC Barcelona, FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Sporting Clube de Portugal. Basel lost their opening game 2-1 at St. Jakob-Park on September 16 against Shakhtar. Fernandinho put the Ukrainians ahead on 25 minutes before Jádson doubled their lead just before half time. David Abraham scored a late consolation goal for the home team. Sporting Lisbon were the opponents in Matchday 2 (October 1) and despite defending well and causing a few scares at the other end of the park, Basel were defeated 2-0 at the Estádio José Alvalade.
Arguably, its most famous internationally recognisable fan is tennis star Roger Federer. The current World No. 2 is a Basel native and has supported the club since his youth. In one interview Federer said if he weren't as good of a tennis player as he is today, he would have without a doubt tried to play football. He went on to say that if he was successful in the beautiful game, he would have loved to play for FC Basel.
A secondary rivalry exists between FC Basel and Grasshopper Club, due to Grasshopper's basis in Zürich and their great historical success. Younger FCB supporters tend to consider Grasshopper Club a very fierce rival (in part with FC Zürich), whereas most older supporters still consider the rivalry with FC Zürich to be significantly more important. In the past couple of years, with FC Zürich's rise to power and their very close competition with FC Basel, the FCB-FCZ rivalry has clearly taken centre-stage again.
FC Basel play their home games at the 42,500 capacity St. Jakob-Park which translates into English as St. Jacob's Park. UEFA have awarded the stadium a 4-star rating, the highest rating that could be given to a stadium of that capacity. St. Jakob-Park was opened in 2001, holding an attendance of 38,000, originally, but the stadium was upgraded to 42,500 due to Switzerland being co-hosts of UEFA Euro 2008. The stadium is nicknamed "Joggeli" by the fans and has 2 restaurants called "Restaurant UNO" and "Hattrick's Sports Bar" and a shopping centre which opened on 1 November 2001. It also has parking space for 680 cars and has its own train station. St. Jakob-Park hosted 6 games during EURO 2008, including the opening game between Switzerland and Czech Republic and a semi-final between Germany and Turkey. The most interesting feature of the stadium is the translucent outer layer, which can be illuminated in different colours for impressive effects much like Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.
FC Basel's traditional kit is a red and blue shirt, blue shorts with gold trim and blue socks with red trim. From this comes the nickname "RotBlau" which is Swiss German and German for Red and Blue (literally "RedBlue"). Their away kit is all silver/platanium with blue trim. FC Basel's kits are manufactured by Nike and sponsored by Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical company which is based in the city of Basel.
The famous "Blaugrana" colours of FC Barcelona are said to have originated from the "Rotblau" colours of FC Basel. FC Barcelona was founded by former FC Basel captain Joan Gamper. For the 2008/09 season, Basel changed their shirt to resemble the traditional Barcelona shirt (red and blue vertical stripes) and Barcelona changed their's to resemble Basel's (one half of the shirt red, the other blue).
FC Basel's current logo is a shield, the left half red and the right half blue. The shield is outlined with gold and in the centre in gold letters it says FCB which stands for "Fussballclub Basel" or "Football Club Basel". The logo is worn in the centre of the shirt opposed to on the traditional left-hand side. Like the colours of FC Basel, the logo has a striking resemblance to that of FC Barcelona in Spain. There are theories that suggest that the founder of FC Barcelona, being at one time the captain of FC Basel, reincorporated the logo of FC Basel on to that of FC Barcelona. The resemblances seem clear, both logos seem to incorporate the shield design, as do most other clubs. But most notably is the FCB acronyms on both logos and the Red-Blue colours, outlined in gold. Also the football that lies on the left side of the FC Basel logo seems to be the exact shape, type and colour as that of the FC Barcelona Logo in the bottom centre. Because of this, many people tend to say that FC Basel was the inspiration in the process of founding FC Barcelona in Spain.
(*) : Also been in senior team squad.
|Assistant Manager||Fritz Schmid|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Romain Crevoisier|
NOTE: Early history is largely unknown.
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