FC Basel won 3:2 (3:0) on Tuesday, 22nd of November 2011, away to FC Otelul Galati in their 5th game of this year’s Champions League campaign. Highly efficient FC Basel celebrated with goals from Fabian Frei, Alex Frei and Captain Marco Streller – who scored his 1st ever Champions League goal on the night! Despite having some difficulties in the last 15 minutes of the game, the Swiss champions secured the win. Basel can book a place in the next stage of the competition, with a victory over Manchester United – who drew 2:2 against Benfica Lisbon.
Basel’s efficiency in bitterly cold Bucharest couldn’t have been better during the first half. The hosts, Otelul Galati played passionate football, putting pressure on the away team, as Basel started nervously, not starting the fixture the way they had hoped. Things changed in an instant in the 10th minute, Alex Frei played a long ball into the box, where Benjamin Huggel’s touch, set up Fabian Frei, who hammered a precise shot past Galati keeper Grahovac, who’s positioning could have been better. Fabian Frei opening the scoring as he did during the first game against the Rumanians, his 3rd Champions League Goal.
Not only Fabian, but also his namesake, Alex Frei demonstrated impressive stats, as the striker added another goal against Otelul Galati in the 14th minute: A precise through ball from Granit Xhaka was played left into the path of Marco Streller, who crossed the ball into the centre, where the Basel top scorer volleyed into the back of the net. Alex Frei’s 2:0 was his fourth goal in four group stage matches (!) – altogether 7 goals in 10 games is truly top quality!
Streller hasn’t scored that many in his personal Champions League career... To be precise Basel’s hardworking captain celebrated only his first Champion League goal against Otelul Galati. In the 37th Minute, a defensive clearance mistake by Otelul Gelati provided Alex Frei with the opportunity to set Streller up, who danced past two defenders to beat goalkeeper Grahovac, striking the ball with the outside of his left boot – similar to his Super League goal against YB. FCB was deservedly three goals ahead in the first half: defensively very solid and highly efficient in attack.
Basel’s three goal lead at the break proved necessary to secure victory in Bucharest. It looked as if Heiko Vogel’s team would be going home with a solid win in their hands as they controlled the game for most of the second half, however so far almost chanceless Galati fought themselves back into the game. Out of the blue captain Gabriel Giurgiu struck a screamer from just outside of the box, in the 75th minute, making it 1:3. Six minutes after Giurgiu’s strike, Liviu Antal made it 2:3, following a disastrous mistake by Joo Ho Park.
Heiko Vogel: „A Wonderful Feeling“
The last phase of the game proved to be very hectic, as the Rumanians threw everyone forward for the draw, fortunately from a Basel perspective however it was not to be. The game ended with Basel taking home all 3 points, and now looking forward to the “Final” against Manchester United on the 7th of December: After the English side drew at home against Benfica Lisbon 2:2, Basel need a victory over Manchester United- This is a tough challenge, but “it’s great that it will come down to a final show down at St. Jakobs Park” commented Heiko Vogel after the game. “We have worked towards this; I am happy about the results and congratulate the team”.
Obviously Vogel was not totally satisfied with his team’s performance during the 2nd half. “After leading 3:0, we should have ended the game on a better note, we should have been more efficient when counter attacking” stated the Basel Coach. “It shows why football is such a spectacular game – you never know what’s going to happen.” Vogel commented “What a great Feeling”; describing the impact this result in Bucharest has on himself and his team.
FC Otelul Galati–FC Basel 2:3 (0:3)
Arena Nationala, Bukarest. – Attendance: 5787. – Ref: Tom Harald Hagen (Nor).
Goals: 10. Fabian Frei 0:1 (Huggel). 14. Alex Frei 0:2 (Streller). 37. Streller 0:3 (Alex Frei). 75. Giurgiu 1:3. 81. Antal 2:3.
Otelul Galati: Grahovac; Rapa, Sarghi, Perendija, Salageanu; Neagu (67. Viglianti; 84. Paraschiv), Filip, Giurgiu; Antal, Iorga (66. Ilie); Pena.
FC Basel: Sommer; Steinhöfer, Abraham, Dragovic, Park; Shaqiri (82. Zoua), Huggel (44. Cabral), Granit Xhaka, Fabian Frei; Alex Frei (77. Chipperfield), Streller.
Notes: FCB without Stocker, Yapi, Voser, Taulant Xhaka (alle injured), Philipp Degen und Stephan Andrist (not qualified). – Bookings: 33. Salageanu (Foul). 62. Dragovic (Foul).
Group C standings:
(Translated by Thomas Snaith)