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22.10.2008 09:08

Basel v Barça: Did you now …

Jordi Clos

Both the histories of FC Basel and FC Barcelona are closely related through their origins. The ties between the Catalan and Swiss teams were made even stronger by Barça’s Cup Winners Cup win in 1979.

- Barça’s founder, Joan Gamper, was a player and member of FC Basel in 1896. This may be why both clubs share the same colours and the same FCB initials.

- The first two games between the Catalan and Swiss sides were played at Christmas 1916. They played at the old Carrer Indústria ground, and both sides won a game each, both 3-1.

- FC Barcelona have never met Basel in an official match, but they did face a Basel Select XI in the Fairs Cup of 1958/59. The Swiss side featured players from FC Basel and Concordia, and it was Barça, then coached by Helenio Herrera, who went through, 7-3 on aggregate.

bas003.JPG- That was Barça’s first game at the Saint Jakob Stadium, where 20 years later they would play in a game that has never been forgotten by the club’s fans. The date was May 16, 1979, when Barça won their first Cup Winners Cup by beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 4-3 in extra time, watched by no fewer than 30,000 travelling Barça fans.

- But a decade earlier, FC Barcelona had also played in a Cup Winners Cup Final at the same venue, where they lost to Slovan Bratislava.

- Barça have not played a Swiss club since 1968, when one of their Cup Winners Cup opponents was FC Lugarno.

- The legendary Saint Jakob Stadium was knocked down in 1998 and since March 2001 the same site has been the home to the more modern Saint Jakob Park.

xakhtar-fcb_final.jpg- 30 years after the historic CWC final, Barça return to Saint Jakob to face FC Basel in the third game of the Champions League group stage. Both teams come into the game in contrasting situations: The Swiss have lost both games played to date, while the Catalans have clocked up two wins.

- Before the start of the third set of games, Leo Messi was the second highest goalscorer in the tournament with two goals, while Xavi Hernández is leader in assists, also with two.

- Christian Gross’ side is the current Swiss league and cup champion, and this is the first time in five years that they have reached the group stage.

- Their biggest star is the Swiss of Turkish origin Eren Derdiyok. Aged just 19 years, he had an excellent Euro 2008 and was one the main reasons Basel came through the qualifying rounds.

- The game is being played at the same time as the ATP Indoor tennis tournament in the same city. Local hero and FC Basel fan Roger Federer began his campaign this Tuesday against the USA’s Bobby Reynolds.
Basel v Barça: Did you now …
The officials
The Basel v Barça match will be refereed by Holland’s Eric Braamhaar. He will be assisted from the touchlines by his compatriots Patrick Gerritsen and Wilco Lobbert.

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