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21.10.2008 12:05

A champion with new faces

Jesús Carrillo

After winning the League and Cup double last season, Basel have renewed their squad in order to cope with the challenge of Champions League football. The side managed by Christian Gross has plenty of talent to offer.

After several seasons in which the Yakin brothers and goalkeeper Zuberbühler were the main men, Basel has renovated its squad in order to be competitive both in the Swiss championship and in what is only their second ever appearance in the group stages of Europe’s premier club football competition.


Argentine midfielder Gelabert, Serbian Marko Perovic, striker Federico Almeraes, signed from River Plate, and Chilean Javier Rubio, signed from Colo Colo, were the most important summer signings. Orhan Mustafi was another major signing. He’s from Macedonia and plays up front, although for the time being has been denied the chance of regular first team opportunities. All of these players were drafted in to make up for the loss of the Yakin brothers and Zuberbühler.

The stars

derdiyok.jpgEran Derdiyok is the biggest name at the club. He is a Swiss international and was a regular starter at the recent European Championship. Other major faces are Australia’s Scott Chipperfield, signed in 2001, and Serbia’s Ivan Hergic, who played for his country at the last World Cup. In the Basel goal we find Constanzo, a Argentinian who was on Alavés’ books in 2005.

The manager

Christian Gross has won all Swiss football has to offer. In total, he’s collected six league championships and five cups, four of each with his current club. The others were won with his previous side, Grasshopper. He has managed Basel since 1999, although he is better known in some parts for the year he spent in charge at Tottenham.

But Gross’ greatest glory came in the Champions League campaign of 2002/03. Little Basel was the surprise package of the competition, qualifying for the second round at the expenses of none other than Liverpool and Spartak Moscow. In the second group stage, the one before the quarter finals, Basel finished higher than Deportivo and ended with the same number of points as Juventus.
Photos: Basel FC
Photos: Basel FC
Modern day
In the Swiss league, after the eleven opening games, Basel and Zurich are leading the chase. Both sides have eight wins, one draw and two defeats to their names. In last week’s cup tie, Basel made it into the round of sixteen. In the Champions League, Christian Gross’ side lost its first two games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Sporting Lisbon. In the preliminary rounds, the Swiss outfit put out IFK Göteborg of Sweden and Portuguese side Guimaraes.

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