Europa League: Chelsea FC vs FC Basel

FC Basel was receiving compliments from soccer (football) clubs all over Europe for the defeat it handed to the Tottenham Hotspurs in the quarter final of the Europa League. Once again, Basel showed that they enjoy their status as underdogs. They will fill the same comfortable position against Chelsea FC against which they were drawn for the semifinal.

Markus Steinhöfer and Valentin Stocker

Chelsea FC's Rafael Benitez should be warned. His club has the unique possibility to join an illustrious club of English soccer clubs. Tottenham Hotspurs is the third team to fall against the Swiss midgets over the last ten years. Before that, Liverpool FC and Manchester United were handed humiliating defeats. FC Basel's game seams to be uniquely suited to make life difficult for the way English clubs play the game.

FC Basel is underrated every year when the season starts anew. As they usually sell about half the team at the end of a season (and half the players are again on the shopping lists of clubs on the Continent as well as in England), English clubs make the same mistake time and again. They seem to be oblivious to the vast pool of talent Basel is drawing on. Running its own football academies in Switzerland and Argentina is one advantage; cooperation with other academies in Germany and Switzerland is the other.

FC Basel's manager Murat Yakin is himself a local boy from Basel's suburbian village Munchenstein (like Roger Federer who used to play for the FC Basel youth team). He played for years for the Swiss National team and was elected into FIFA's World squad in the Match Against Poverty in 2003. While playing for several Continental clubs, he did a two year stint with Fenerbahce Istanbul.

Asked about the draw against Chelsea FC he remarked jokingly that he was disappointed as he had hoped to take on his old club Fenerbahce in the semifinal. 'Now we will have to play them in the final.'

Further reading:
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