On the evening of Thursday August 25th 2011, the draw for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League took place. As of mid-September, FC Basel 1893 will play in Group C along with Manchester United, Benfica and Otelul Galati (of Romania). The first fixture in this season’s highest echelon of European football will be played at home on Wednesday 14th September 2011 against the Romanian champions. The last group game will also be played in St. Jakob Park against Manchester United.
It is a fantastic Champions League draw for FC Basel 1893. The squad of Thorsten Fink will play against one of the favourites for the tournament in Manchester United. It is the second time they will meet the three time European champions (1968, 1999 & 2008); the teams last encountered one another in the 2002/03 Champions League group stages. In the last five years Manchester United were once beaten quarter finalist and semi-finalists, as well as playing in the final on three occasions, which the English heavyweights last won in 2008.
However, FC Basel 1893 will play against Otelul Galati for the first time. The Romanian club won the Romanian championship for the first time last season and thus, like FC Basel, qualified directly for the group stages of the Champions League. Europa League qualification was previously their best achievement. Since the summer of 2009 Otelul Galati has been coached by Dorinel Munteanu (43); known to many as a Romanian international player and a former Bundesliga stalwart. He played for FC Köln from 1995-1999 and VfL Wolfsburg from 1999-2004.
The third opponent is Benfica of Lisbon, Portugal. They are one of the most established names in European football, yet FC Basel 1893 has never played against them on the European stage. Benfica have been champions of Portugal 32 times but in the Spring of 2011, the team from the capital had to concede an early defeat in the league to FC Porto. The best European result for Benfica in recent times came in the 2005/06 Champions League campaign when they reached the quarter finals.
Here is the initial reaction and comments of FC Basel manager Thorsten Fink:
“We are very happy with this group - I think we have a chance to still be competing in European competition after the turn of the year. Manchester United clearly are favourites not only in our group, but also one of four teams who might win the Champions League crown. It will be incredibly difficult to compete against Manchester United because they have a fantastic manager and a super squad.
But we have to believe in our own chances. The same applies when talking about Benfica, another fabulous, strong opponent. To play Otelul Galati will be equally as difficult as last year against Cluj. They are beatable, but, in Champions League football there are no easy opponents. We must be wary from the start. Last year we lost at home to Cluj; we must avoid a repeat performance this year. We would like to keep our attacking style no matter who we are playing against. If we succeed in doing this then we can keep up with stronger teams, as we did last year against Bayern Munich and AS Roma. However, we are aware of our place in this league. We are the underdogs and we will do our best to surprise our opponents in the Champions League.”
FCB Manager Thorsten Fink concentrates on the live draw of the Champions League groups.
The Champions League opponents of FC Basel 1893:
|Club name||Manchester United||Benfica Lissabon||Otelul Galati
|Stadium||Old Trafford||Estadio da Luz||Stadionul Otelul
Die UCL-Spiele will take place in the National stadium of Bucharest.
|President||Joel Glazer||Luis Filipe Vieira||Marius Stan|
|Manager||Alex Ferguson||Jorge Jesus||Dorinel Munteanu|
|Ranking 10/11||Champion||Runner up||Champion|
|The Champions League fixures of FCB:|
|Matchday 1||Wed, 14. Sept. 2011||FC Basel 1893||–||Otelul Galati|
|Matchday 2||Tue, 27. Sept. 2011||Manchester United||–||FC Basel 1893|
|Matchday 3||Tue, 18. Okt. 2011||FC Basel 1893||–||Benfica Lissabon|
|Matchday 4||Wed, 2. Nov. 2011||Benfica Lissabon||–||FC Basel 1893|
|Matchday 5||Tue, 22. Nov. 2011||Otelul Galati||–||FC Basel 1893|
|Matchday 6||Wed, 7. Dez. 2011||FC Basel 1893||–||Manchester United|
Kickoff: 8.45 pm
The Champions League on Uefa.com: Klick here