FC Basel was started by an advertisement which appeared on 12 November 1893 in the Basler national newspaper requesting that a football team be formed and that anyone who wished to join should meet up the following Wednesday at 8:15 in the restaurant Schuhmachern-Zunft. The advert had been placed by Roland Geldner, who was later elected as first president. Eleven men attended the meeting: Emil Abderhalden, Max Born, Josef Ebinger, Max Geldner, Wilhelm Glaser, Jean Grieder, Ferdinand Isler, Wilhelm Oser, Lucien Schmoll, Richard Strub und John Tollmann. Thus, Fussball Club Basel was founded on 15 November 1893. The founding members were generally from the academic community. The club colours from the first day on were red and blue.
Basel's first game was on 26 November 1893 against itself, an internal match between two ad hoc formed FCB teams against each other. Two weeks later, FCB had their first official appearance in a game against a team formed by students from the high school gymnastic club. FCB won 2–0. In the early days, the club's team played only friendly matches, for example the local derby against BSC Old Boys (founded as FC Old Boys Basel in 1894) and also against Grasshopper Club Zürich (founded in 1886). One of the early club captains was Hans Gamper, who later founded FC Barcelona in Spain.
Basel did not compete in the first (unofficial) Swiss football championship held 1897–98. They did, however, contest in the second Serie A championship which was organized by the Swiss Football Association. The Serie A was divided into three regional groups, an east, a central (with FCB) and a west group. The winners of each group qualified for the finals. Basel did not qualify for the finals and they did not compete in the championship the following season.
The Serie A 1900–01 was divided into two groups, an east and a west group. Basel were with three teams from Zürich and two other teams from Basel, Old Boys and Fortuna Basel in the west group. Basel ended the season with two victories, two draws and six defeats in 5th position in the group. Basel did not have much of an early footballing success, waiting 40 years before winning their first trophy.
At the beginning of the 1932–33 season, the Austrian ex-international footballer Karl Kurz took over as club trainer. There were eight teams in Group 1 of the 1932–33 Nationalliga. Basel finished their season in second position in the table, with seven victories from 14 games. The play-off game between the second placed teams from both groups was played in Basel at the Stadion Rankhof, but the home team lost 3–4 to Servette FC Genève. In the Swiss Cup, Basel advanced to the final, which was played in the Hardturm in Zürich. Basel won 4–3 and thus their first ever national title, defeating arch-rivals and reigning cup-holders Grasshoppers in what is still considered to be one of the best cup finals in Swiss football history.Relegation
During the following five seasons, Basel played in the midfield of the Nationliga, not having much to do with the championship not having to worry about relegation. But the 1938–39 Nationalliga did not mean well with them. With just five wins and with twelve defeats, they finished in the last position in the league table and were relegated.
The 1941–42 season was Basel's third season in the 1st League (second flight of Swiss football) after relegation. Eugen Rupf was player-coach for his second year. Basel finished their season as winners of group East. In the play-offs against group West winners Bern, the away tie ending with a goalless draw and Basel won their home tie 3–1 to achieve Promotion. In the Swiss Cup five home games, a coin toss in the quarter-final and a replay in the semi-final was needed to qualify for the final. The final against Grasshoppers ended goalless after extra time and a replay was required here too. In the replay – played at the Wankdorf Stadion against the Nationalliga champions – Basel led at half-time through two goals by Fritz Schmidlin, but two goals from Grubenmann a third from Neukom gave Grasshoppers a 3–2 victory.Relegation and promotion
After just three seasons in the top flight of Swiss football, Basel suffered relegation again, but achieved immediate re-promotion in the 1944–45 season.
Anton Schall, another Austrian ex-international, became the club's new trainer. Basel finished the Nationalliga A season in fourth position, with 12 victories from 26 games, scoring a total of 60 goals; top league goal scorers were Traugott Oberer (13) and René Bader (10). Basel won the cup for the second time as they beat Lausanne Sports (who had also been runners-up the previous year) 3–0 in the final at the Stadion Neufeld in Bern. Paul Stöcklin scored two goals and Bader scored the other one.
At the beginning of the 1952–53 season, René Bader took over the job as club trainer from Ernst Hufschmid, who had acted as trainer the previous five years. Bader acted as player-manager and Willy Dürr was his assistant; Dürr stood at the side line when Bader played. Basel won their first league title in 1953 and ended the season four points ahead of BSC Young Boys. Basel won 17 of the 26 games, losing only once, and they scored 72 goals conceding 38. Josef Hügi was the team's top league goal scorer.
The Czechoslovakian manager Jiří Sobotka was the club manager at this time, he taken the job over from Jenő Vincze the year before. Basel finished the championship in sixth position. Heinz Blumer was Basel's top scorer this season with 16 goals, Karl Odermatt their second best goal scorer with 14. The Wankdorf Stadium hosted the Swiss Cup final on 15 April 1963, and Basel played against favourites Grasshoppers. Two goals after half-time, one by Heinz Blumer and the second from Otto Ludwig, gave Basel a 2–0 victory and their third Cup win in their history. Peter Füri played in all games save the final due to an illness.
On 26 December 1964 FCB played against Grasshoppers Zürich in the quarter-finals of the Swiss Cup. They decided the match 3–1 for themselves in overtime. This was to be the very last match for the popular Basler captain of that time Hans Weber, because just seven weeks later he died of cancer. Between his first appearance in 1949 and his death in February 1965 he made 281 appearances for Basel scoring 48 goals.
As explained above, Basel won their first trophy of the new decade in 1963, but, FCB (which is pronounced "Eff Cee Bee" in Swiss German) didn't come to prominence until the late 1960s under the management of Helmut Benthaus and with quality players such as René Hasler, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Karl Odermatt.
In the 1966–67 season, Benthaus achieved his first league win with Basel. During this season, he acted as player-manager, having taken over the trainer job from Jiří Sobotka at the beginning of the previous season. There were 14 teams contesting in the championship, and Basel finished just one point clear of FC Zürich. Basel won 16 of the 26 games, drawing eight, losing only twice and they scored 60 goals conceding just 20. Roberto Frigerio was the team's top goal scorer with 16 league goals, while Helmut Hauser was second-best with 14.
In the Swiss Cup final that season, Basel's opponents were Lausanne-Sports. In the former Wankdorf Stadium on 15 May 1967, Helmut Hauser scored the decisive goal via a penalty. The game went down in football history due to the sit-down strike that followed this goal. After 88 minutes of play, with the score at 1–1, referee Karl Göppel awarded Basel a controversial penalty: André Grobéty had pushed Hauser gently in the back and he let himself drop theatrically. Subsequent to Basel taking the lead, Lausanne players refused to resume the game, sitting down demonstratively on the pitch. The referee was forced to abandon the match and Basel were awarded the cup with a 3–0 default victory.
Basel had won the double for the first time in the club's history.
The league title in 1966–67 led to Basel qualifying to play in the European Cup for the first time, in 1967–68. Basel, however, were knocked out of the tournament in the First Round by Danish side Akademisk Boldklub.
Basel's next league title was achieved in the 1968–69 Nationalliga A season as they once again finished just one point above the runners-up, this time Lausanne Sports. In the Swiss Cup, Basel reached the quarter-finals.
This championship title meant that Basel could embark on another European adventure, but again they failed to overcome the first hurdle; this time it was Celtic of Scotland. Nationally in the 1969–70 season, Basel won the league for the fourth time again one point ahead of Lausanne Sports. In the Swiss Cup, Basel reached the final.
The European Cup was a little kinder to Basel in 1970–71, as they reached the Second Round, losing to Ajax after defeating Soviets Spartak Moscow in the first round. Basel did not retain their title the following season despite finishing with the same amount of points as the subsequent champions, Grasshoppers, who won the title on a head-to-head. In the Swiss Cup, Basel reached the quarter-finals.
After a trophy-less season, Basel again won two league titles in-a-row. The 1971–72 season was the last season for Helmut Benthaus as activ footballer. Basel won the championship four points ahead of Zürich. In the Swiss Cup, Basel reached the final but were defeated 0–1 by Zürich through a goal in extra time. In the 1971–72 UEFA Cup, Basel were drawn against Real Madrid. The home game attracted 32,059 spectators, but Basel were defeated 1–2 and lost overall 2–4 on aggregate.
The 1972–73 season was Benthaus' eighth season as manager. Basel won 17 of their 26 league games and won the championship four points ahead of Grasshoppers. Ottmar Hitzfeld was the leagues joint top goal scorer with 18 league goals. In the Swiss Cup, Basel played Martigny-Sports, Young Boys, FC Chiasso and FC Biel-Bienne to reach the final against Zürich. The 1972 Swiss League Cup was the inaugural Swiss League Cup competition. It was played in the summer of 1972 as a pre-season tournament to the 1972–73 season. This was won by Basel who defeated FC Winterthur 4–1 in the final in which Hitzfeld scored a hattick. In Europe, Basel failed to impress once again, in 1972–73, as they were sent crashing out at the first stage by Hungary's Újpesti Dózsa SC.
But in the 1973–74 season, they excelled with the Peruvian legend Teófilo Cubillas in their ranks, eliminating Icelanders Fram Reykjavík and Club Brugge of Belgium, before narrowly exiting in the quarter-finals to Celtic 5–6 on aggregate. Despite Basel's improvement on the European stage, they did not retain the league for another four years, but they did manage to lift the Swiss Cup in 1975, beating Winterthur 2–1 after extra time.
Basel's long-awaited title-win came in 1977 as they triumphed over Servette FC in a playoff. This meant that Basel returned to play in the European Cup, but they were defeated in the first round, once more, by Wacker Innsbruck of Austria, after showing so much promise on their last European outing. After the success of the 1976–77 season, Basel endured two seasons of below-par performances and mid-table finishes until glory returned in 1980, as Basel won the Nationalliga A title through the playoff. However, manager Helmut Benthaus left in 1982 and in the following seasons, Basel's final league positions started to drop until their relegation into the Nationalliga B in 1988.
Several managers came and went at the St. Jakob Stadium between then, until Basel finally returned to the Nationalliga A in 1994 under Claude Andrey. Basel avoided relegation by three points in their first season back at the top-flight, but Andrey left and was replaced by Karl Engel. Engel led Basel to a fifth-place finish in his first season in charge and a solid mid-table finish in 1997, but he was sacked after a poor start to the 1997–98 campaign, in which Basel finished second-last. Jörg Berger then took over but lasted only a year in charge before Christian Gross was appointed. Gross' appointment went hand-in-hand with the financial backing that had just been put into the club and it was not long until Basel returned to the top.
As the St. Jakob-Park was opened on 15 March 2001, success returned. Basel finished the 2000–01 season in fourth position in the league.
FCB's main aim for the 2001–02 season was to win the Swiss Nationalliga A championship title. The second aim was to win the cup title. The team was only changed in a few positions. Biggest signing for the new season were Scott Chipperfield, who came from Wollongong Wolves, and Christian Giménez, who was signed from FC Lugano, Goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler also returned from a one-year loan with Bayer Leverkusen. and brought up from the reserve team was Marco Streller, who given a professional contract. Streller made his League debut at St. Jakob-Park after being substituted in during in the 66th minute on 11 July 2001 in the 3–1 home win against Servette. Unluckily, however, in the last minute of the match he scored an own goal. It was to remain his only game for Basel in this period, because he was loaned to feeder club Concordia Basel for the rest of the season. But Basel's success and Streller's success would evolve parallel during the following years.
The season started some what difficult, but Basel ended the qualification round leading the league table by five points at the winter break. The Championship round began in February and with ten wins and just one defeat in the first 11 games, Basel pulled away at the top of the table to win the championship three games before the end of the season. This was their first championship title after 22 years of waiting. In fact, they achieved the double, winning the Swiss Cup during extra time against Grasshoppers thanks to a hands penalty scored by Murat Yakin. Basel also reached the final of the UEFA Intertoto Cup.
In the 2002–03 season, Basel were the second Swiss team to ever play in the modern UEFA Champions League. Their first game was in the second qualifying round against MŠK Žilina of Slovakia. They won 4–1 on aggregate. In the next round, they faced Scottish giants Celtic. In the first leg at Celtic Park, the home side won 3–1, but in the second leg at St. Jakob-Park, Basel came away with a famous 2–0 victory. This meant Basel progressed on the away goals rule after a 3–3 aggregate draw. In the first group stage, Basel were drawn into Group B with Valencia, Liverpool and Spartak Moscow. On Matchday 1, Basel defeated Spartak 2–0 at home, then on Matchday 2, they travelled to Anfield where they managed to draw 1–1 against Liverpool. After a great start to the group stage, Basel were brought back down to earth when they were defeated 6–2 by Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium. They bounced back, however, and held Valencia to a 2–2 draw in the next fixture. Basel were now sitting in second place in the group but they would still need to win at least one of their last two games and hope that Liverpool would not pick up more than two points to secure that place. In Matchday 5, Liverpool lost 1–0 to Valencia and FCB won 2–0 against Spartak at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Basel's place in the last 16 was all but secured, although they still had to make sure they did not lose to Liverpool in the last game of the first group stage. On the last matchday, Basel were winning 3–0 at half-time through goals from Julio Rossi, Christian Giménez and Timothée Atouba. The second half was a different story, however, and Liverpool fought back to draw 3–3. This was still enough for FCB to qualify for the next round. In the last 16, Basel faced Manchester United, Juventus, and Deportivo de La Coruña. They had a poor start, losing back to back games against Manchester United at home and Juventus away. FCB then faced Deportivo in a double-header, with the home side winning 1–0 in both games. Arguably, two of FCB's greatest games came next as they held United to a 1–1 draw at Old Trafford and claimed a 2–1 victory over Juventus at St. Jakob-Park. Despite picking up the same number of points as second-placed Juventus, Basel crashed out on goal difference. Basel finished second in the Swiss Super League that season and won the Swiss Cup after beating Neuchâtel Xamax 6–0 in the final.
Basel's main aims for the 2003–04 season were to regain the league title and, as cup holders, to retain their cup title. The third aim was to remain in the UEFA Cup as long as possible. During the pre-season, Basel won the Uhrencup and the Alpen Cup. After being the surprise package in Europe in the 2002–03 season, Basel could not bring this form into the UEFA Cup in 2003–04 as they were eliminated by Newcastle United in the second round after defeating Malatyaspor in the previous round.
The Super League season started impeccably, as Basel won its first 13 matches. They completed the first half of the season undefeated, with 17 wins and 1 draw. Basel remained in top position right up until the end of the season, thus achieving their championship aim. In the club's history, this was their tenth championship title. During the season, Marco Streller scored 13 goals in 16 games, thus gathering the interest of a handful of Bundesliga clubs, including VfB Stuttgart.
The club's biggest signing in advance of the 2004–05 season was Kléber from Hannover 96. However, Timothée Atouba, Mario Cantaluppi and Marco Streller left the club. During the winter break, FCB signed Patrick Müller from Mallorca.
As reigning champions, Basel were favourites to retain their league title and as Swiss champions, they entered the Champions League in the third qualifying round. They were drawn against Internazionale, however, and lost 5–2 on aggregate, subsequently dropping into the UEFA Cup. In the first round of the UEFA Cup, Basel defeated the Russian side Terek Grozny 3–1 on aggregate. In the group stage, they faced considerabley tougher opponents, being drawn in Group E with Feyenoord, Schalke 04, Ferencváros and Hearts. They finished third in the group on seven points and qualified for the Round of 32, where they were defeated 2–0 on aggregate by Lille.
In the domestic league, the season started difficultly; of the first four home matches, only two were won. Nevertheless, Basel moved to the top of the league table, and one of the season's highlights was the 8–1 home win against Grasshoppers, in which Christian Giménez scored four goals. Basel completed their 17 home league games undefeated, winning 13 and drawing four. They won the league title ten points ahead of their nearest rivals.
In the third round of the Swiss Cup, Basel were drawn away against FC Thun, but lost 5–4 after penalties.
Basel's biggest signings of the 2005–06 season were defenders Daniel Majstorović and Kōji Nakata, who were brought in to replace Patrick Müller, who was set to sign for Lyon, and the retiring Murat Yakin. Forward Eduardo was signed after a successful loan spell, but Argentinian goalscorers Christian Giménez and Julio Rossi left the club.
As Swiss champions, Basel entered the Champions League third qualifying round against German club Werder Bremen. Basel won the first leg 2–1 at St. Jakob-Park but lost 3–0 at the Weserstadion in the second leg, the aggregate score finishing 4–2 in Bremen's favour. Basel were then dropped into the UEFA Cup, where they met Široki Brijeg of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first round. Basel sealed a 6–0 aggregate win and were drawn into Group E alongside Strasbourg, Roma, Red Star Belgrade and Tromsø. FCB lost the first group match 2–0 against Strasbourg at home but won 2–1 away to Red Star, giving themselves an opportunity to progress to the next round if they won their next game against Tromsø. They did in a seven-goal thriller, winning 4–3 and securing third place. The last match of the group was against Italian club Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, where the Serie A club won 3–1. In the Round of 32, FCB came up against Monaco, which they beat 2–1 on aggregate after a 1–1 stalemate in Monaco and a 1–0 victory for Basel in Switzerland. As Basel progressed to the last 16, they played against Strasbourg once again. FCB won the first leg 2–0 and drew 2–2 in the second leg, winning 4–2 overall. In the quarter-finals, the club came up against Middlesbrough. FCB won 2–0 at home and looked certain to progress as they travelled to the Riverside Stadium. This was not the case, however, as Middlesbrough fought back to win the match 4–1 and the tie 4–3.
On 26 February 2006, Basel broke their own club record of 52 unbeaten league games in St. Jakob-Park. The new record is 59, but the streak ended there on the final day of the season with a last-minute goal by Iulian Filipescu of FC Zürich, knocking Basel out of contention and giving Zürich their first national championship since 1980–81. A 60th-straight home league match undefeated would have made Basel champions once again, but the final score was 1–2 in favour of Zürich. This resulted in riots and property damage between hooligans of both the FCB and their rival supporters after the match. (See 2006 Basel hooligan incident for more details.)
Various signings involving FCB took place during the 2006–07 Swiss Super League season. The most notable of these were the replacement of local hero Pascal Zuberbühler, who departed for West Bromwich Albion, with Argentina international Franco Costanzo and the signing of Delron Buckley on loan from Borussia Dortmund. Zdravko Kuzmanović left the club during the winter break for Fiorentina.
Basel's European campaign started in the first qualifying stage of the UEFA Cup, when they beat Kazakh side Tobol 3–1 on aggregate. In the second round, they played against Liechtensteiner team FC Vaduz, narrowly progressing on the away goals rule after a 2–2 aggregate draw. They were then put up against Macedonians FK Rabotnički. Basel won 6–2 at St. Jakob-Park and 1–0 at the Skopje City Stadium to qualify for the group stages where they faced tough opposition, Blackburn Rovers, Nancy, Feyenoord and Wisła Kraków. Basel's first game came against Feyenoord at home. They came away with a respectable 1–1 draw. Their next group match was at Ewood Park against Blackburn. Basel played reasonably well but shaky defending became their downfall. Nancy, at home, were their next opponents, and the match ended in a 2–2 draw. Basel's last group game was against Wisła Kraków at the Wisła Stadium. FCB needed a win to qualify but their poor European campaign came to an end after losing 3–1 despite taking an early lead through Mladen Petrić.
Basel won the Swiss Cup after beating FC Luzern 1–0. The winning goal came from the penalty spot through Daniel Majstorović in the 93rd minute.
FCB finished in second place in the Swiss Super League, just one point behind winners Zürich. This was despite the club defeating Zürich in all three of their meetings in that league campaign.
At the beginning of the 2007–08 season, Basel strengthened their team by signing Switzerland internationals Marco Streller from VfB Stuttgart, Benjamin Huggel from Eintracht Frankfurt and David Degen on loan from Borussia Mönchengladbach. Fans' favourite Mladen Petrić, meanwhile joined Borussia Dortmund in a big-money deal, and influential defender Boris Smiljanić returned to his former club Grasshoppres. Highly rated Switzerland under-21 defender Beg Ferati arrived at St. Jakob-Park in January from feeder club Concordia Basel on a three-and-a-half year contract. He was joined by veteran striker Vratislav Lokvenc from Red Bull Salzburg and exciting midfielder Marko Perović from Red Star Belgrade, who also arrived during the winter break.
Basel were drawn against Bosnian minnows FK Sarajevo in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup, a tie that Basel won 8–1 on aggregate. In the next round, Basel faced a considerably tougher opponent in the form of SV Mattersburg of Austria. Nonetheless, Basel finished the tie off with a 4–0 away win after a 2–1 victory at St. Jakob-Park. Basel were then drawn into the group of death of Group D alongside Brann, Dinamo Zagreb, Hamburger SV and Rennes, all of which were ranked within the top three of their own leagues at the start of the stage. Basel won their first UEFA Cup group game against Rennes at home 1–0 thanks to a Marco Streller header. Their next game was away to Dinamo Zagreb in which Basel earned a valuable away point thanks to on form goalkeeper Franco Costanzo, who kept the game at 0–0 for 90 minutes. They then faced Brann at St. Jakob-Park, where they won 1–0 through a Carlitos free-kick and were highly praised for playing attractive and flowing football. Basel then went to Germany to face Hamburger SV at the HSH Nordbank Arena, where they were fortunate to escape with a 1–1 draw. The goals came courtesy of captain Ivan Ergić and Hamburg's Ivica Olić.
Basel then faced Sporting CP in the last 32 after qualifying second in the group alongside first-placed Hamburg and third-placed Brann. (Sporting finished third in their group in the Champions League, which is why they were dropped into the UEFA Cup.) The first leg took place on 13 February in Lisbon, where first-choice goalkeeper Franco Costanzo was injured and Basel lost 2–0. The second leg did not fare any better for Basel. Costanzo remained injured and Basel lost 3–0 on 21 February in Basel, falling from the UEFA Cup.
Basel won the Swiss Cup for the second consecutive season after beating second-tier side AC Bellinzona 4–1 at St. Jakob-Park on 6 April 2008. Eren Derdiyok gave Basel the lead in the first half before Bellinzona equalised through Christian Pouga in the second. Daniel Majstorović restored the lead for Basel with a header and Swiss internationals Marco Streller and Benjamin Huggel scored one goal each to make the final scoreline 4–1 in Basel's favour.
Basel won the Swiss Super League for the first time since 2005 on 10 May 2008 at home after a 2–0 win over title threats BSC Young Boys. It was the last game of the season and Basel only needed a point from the match to win the Championship, but if Young Boys won, then they would be champions, exactly the same situation as the end of the 2005–06 season with FC Zürich. The painful memories of losing the league on the last day of the season in 2006 seemed to spur FCB on as they took an early lead through Valentin Stocker before Marco Streller wrapped up the victory with the second.
This rounded off a highly successful season for Basel as they conquered on the domestic front, winning both the Swiss Super League and Swiss Cup, and reaching the last 32 of the UEFA Cup.
Prior to the 2008–09 season, FCB added to their squad by signing defenders Behrang Safari from Malmö FF and David Abraham from Gimnàstic de Tarragona, and midfielders Jürgen Gjasula and Marcos Gelabert from FC St. Gallen. Fans' favourite Daniel Majstorović left the club for AEK Athens and Kōji Nakata returned to the J. League with Kashima Antlers, while Vratislav Lokvenc and David Degen's loan deals were not renewed. Ivan Ergić resigned from being club captain before the start of the season, with Franco Costanzo unveiled as the new captain a day before the season began.
Basel played their opening game of the season in Bern on 18 July 2008 against BSC Young Boys, which they won 2–1 with goals coming from substitutes Marko Perović and Benjamin Huggel after Eudis put the home side ahead.
Basel entered the Champions League in the Second Qualifying Round and were drawn against IFK Göteborg of Sweden. The first leg was on 30 July 2008 at Ullevi and finished 1–1. Benjamin Huggel put Basel ahead before Thomas Olsson equalised for the home team. The second leg took place on 6 August at St. Jakob-Park, with Basel coming from behind twice to win 4–2. Pontus Wernbloom put Göteborg ahead on 19 minutes before Huggel equalised soon after. Early in the second half, Robin Söder restored Göteborg's lead but Basel fought back, with Scott Chipperfield equalising. Then Basel got a penalty due to a supposed hands ball in the box. Replays showed that the referee had made the wrong decision. The penalty was scored and eventually led to the victory.
Basel then faced Vitória de Guimarães of Portugal in the Third Qualifying Round. The first leg at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques on 13 August ended in a 0–0 draw. The second leg took place on 27 August at St. Jakob-Park, where Valentin Stocker gave Basel an early lead on 11 minutes before João Alves was fouled in the penalty area by François Marque and João Fajardo dispatched the spot-kick, just four minutes later to draw Vitória level. In the second half, the away side started well but Eren Derdiyok gave FCB a 2–1 lead which they hung on to, to qualify for the Champions League Group Stages.
FCB were drawn into Group C alongside Barcelona, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sporting CP. Basel lost their opening game 2–1 at St. Jakob-Park on 16 September against Shakhtar. Fernandinho put the Ukrainians ahead on 25 minutes before Jádson doubled their lead just before half time. David Abraham scored a late consolation goal for the home team. Sporting CP were the opponents on Matchday 2 (1 October) and despite defending well and causing a few scares at the other end of the park, Basel were defeated 2–0 at the Estádio José Alvalade. On Matchday 3 (22 October), Barcelona visited Basel and came away with a 5–0 win, but a fortnight later it was a different story as FCB came away with a respectable 1–1 draw at the Camp Nou, with Eren Derdiyok scoring a late equaliser after Lionel Messi put Barça ahead. On 26 November, Basel travelled to Ukraine to play Shakhtar, where they were thrashed 5–0. Basel then faced Sporting at home on the final Matchday (9 December) and were defeated 1–0.
On 16 April 2009, FCB were eliminated from the Swiss Cup in the semi-final after losing 3–2 on penalties to Young Boys. The score was 0–0 after 90 minutes and extra time.
Despite remaining in first or second position for most of the season, Basel finished in third place behind FC Zürich and Young Boys. On 24 May 2009, Basel lost 4–1 against Grasshoppers, meaning that they could no longer win the Swiss Super League and that FC Zürich were crowned champions. Three days later, on 27 May FCB lost 3–0 to Young Noys, therefore also surrendering second place. On 27 May, Christian Gross was sacked from his role as FC Basel manager after ten years in the job.
German Thorsten Fink was appointed as Basel's new manager on 9 June 2009. Basel let several players go, not extending the contracts with Ronny Hodel, Jürgen Gjasula, Ivan Ergić and Eduardo. Star striker Eren Derdiyok was sold to Bayer Leverkusen, and Eduardo Rubio returned to Cruz Azul. A number of players were brought up into the first team from the under-21 squad and a number of new players were signed, including Alexander Frei from Borussia Dortmund, Çağdaş Atan from Energie Cottbus, Samuel Inkoom from Asante Kotoko, Massimo Colomba from Grasshoppers and Antônio da Silva on loan from Karlsruher SC.
Basel entered the UEFA Europa League in the second qualifying round. They qualified for the group stage and were drawn into Group E alongside Roma, Fulham and CSKA Sofia. Basel finished in third place.
In domestic affairs, Basel swept the board – despite a poor start to the season – and won the title on the last day of the season against favourites Young Boys at the Stade de Suisse. Young prospect Valentin Stocker and club legend Scott Chipperfield gave Basel the goals in the 2–0 win on 16 May. Marco Streller was the league's top scorer with 21 goals.
On 9 May, FC Basel won the 2009–10 Swiss Cup final with outstanding 6–0 victory over FC Lausanne-Sport, Stocker scoring twice, and Xherdan Shaqiri, Jacques Zoua, Scott Chipperfield and Benjamin Huggel scoring the others. The win secured FC Basel's tenth cup win to date.
The 114th season of the Swiss Super League began on 19 July 2010. Stefan Wessels, Marcos Gelabert, Antônio da Silva, Carlitos and Serkan Şahin left the club. Four players from the under-21 squad – the brothers Taulant and Granit Xhaka, Matthias Baron and Janick Kamber – were brought up to the first team. Goalkeeper Yann Sommer returned from his spell on loan to Grasshoppers, and Gilles Yapi Yapo (Young Boys) and Fwayo Tembo (Étoile Sportive du Sahel) were bought to complete the new squad. Basel's first game was on 20 July at home against FC Zürich which resulted in a 3–2 win.
Basel entered the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, drawn against Debrecen; they won both games (2–0, 3–1). In the play-offs to the Champions League, they are drawn against Sheriff Tiraspol. In the first leg, they defeated Tiraspol 1–0 before winning 3–0 on the road. Basel entered the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League group stage in Group E.
The 115th season of the Swiss Super League began on 16 July 2011. Thorsten Fink started the season as manager of the first team. His Assistant was Heiko Vogel and Fitness Coach was Nikola Vidović. Thorsten Fink named Marco Streller as new team captain. On 13 October 2011, Fink left the club and signed a contract with Hamburger SV to manage the club through to 2014. As replacement, his assistant Vogel was signed as caretaker manager until the winter break. Vogel's first three games in charge of the team were the Swiss Cup fixture on 15 October, which ended in a 5–1 away win against FC Schötz, the Champions League Group C fixture on 18 October 2011, a 0:2 home defeat against Benfica, and the 1–0 away win in the Super League against FC Zürich. Basel historically qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League with 2–1 win over Manchester United on 7 December 2011. That sent Manchester United down to the Europa League for the first time in Sir Alex Ferguson's reign. On 12 December, it was announced that Vogel had signed as head coach and manager. On 22 February 2012, Basel defeated Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Round of 16 stage in the Champions League. They won with a score of 1–0, scoring in the 86th minute of the game, but then lost in the return leg 7–0, thus eliminating them.
Basel's biggest signings ahead of the 2012–13 season were Gastón Sauro, who transferred from Boca Juniors, Mohamed Salah from El Mokawloon and Marcelo Díaz, who came from Universidad de Chile. Díaz was transferred to Basel in a US$4 million deal and signed a four-year contract.
Basel's 2012–13 Swiss Super League season began on 13 July 2012 with the away tie against Servette FC. The season started unsuccessfully, only four wins but six draws and one defeat during the first 11 games. On 15 October 2012, manager Heiko Vogel was sacked by the club and replaced by former player Murat Yakin. At the end of the first half of the season, Basel were in second position in the domestic league table. In the second half of the season, Basel acquired enough points to finish the season three points ahead of Grasshoppers and to win their fourth title in a row.
As Swiss champions, Basel entered the Champions League in the second qualifying round, where they were drawn against Estonian club Flora Tallinn, winning 5–0 on aggregate. In the third round, they were drawn against Norwegian club Molde, winning 2–1 on aggregate. In the playoff round, however, Basel lost both games against CFR Cluj from Romania, being knocked out 3–1 on aggregate. The team thus qualified for the Europa League group stage, where they were drawn into Group G alongside Sporting CP, Genk and Videoton. They finished in second place in the table and thus continued after the winter break in the knockout phase round of 32.
During the winter break, Basel announced that they had signed Serey Dié from FC Sion on a three-and-a-half-year contract, Endoğan Adili from Grasshopperss also on a three-and-a-half-year contract and Raúl Bobadilla on a contract until 2017. It was also announced that they had signed Mohamed Elneny on a loan deal lasting up until the end of June 2013.
In the knockout phase round of 32, Basel were drawn against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Basel won 3–1 on aggregate. In the round of 16, they were drawn against Zenit Saint Petersburg and, despite being the underdogs, they qualified for the quarter-finals by winning 2–1 on aggregate. Here Basel were drawn against Tottenham Hotspur, which they beat 4–1 on penalties after a 4–4 aggregate draw to progress to the semi-finals. The draw for the semi-final matched them against reigning Champions League holders Chelsea. Both games in the tie ended with a defeat, 1–2 in Basel 1–3 in London. Despite these two defeats, Basel's European aims were achieved. In fact, the season can be described as a very successful one, probably their most successful ever.
Basel's priority for the season was to win the league championship for the fifth time in a row. Their biggest signings at the beginning of the season were two former players, Behrang Safari, who returned from Anderlecht, and Matías Delgado, who was signed on a free transfer from Al Jazira. Another main signing was Ivan Ivanov, who transferred in from Partizan to replace Aleksandar Dragović, who transferred to Dynamo Kyiv.
Basel's 2013–14 Swiss Super League season began on 13 July 2013 with the away tie against FC Aarau, which was won 3–1. They started in the 2013–14 Swiss Cup first round on 17 August with the away game against BSC Old Boys. Basel's 2013–14 UEFA Champions League season started on 30 July 2013 in the third qualifying round with a tie in St. Jakob-Park against Maccabi Tel Aviv, which they won 4–3 on aggregate. In the first match of the main group stage, Basel notched up a surprising 2–1 away win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and followed this up with a 1–0 home win in the return fixture at St. Jakob-Park. Despite these two results, they only finished in third position in the league table and thus they qualified for the 2013–14 Europa League round of 32.There, they fought Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv and went on to defeat Red Bull Salzburg 2–1 on aggregate. They would face Valencia in the quarter-finals, winning 3–0 at home, but losing 0–5 in Valencia after extra-time.
On 28 May 2014, Basel announced that Paulo Sousa was to become their trainer for the new season and that he had signed a three-year contract. His assistants were Ignacio Torreño, Víctor Sánchez and Manuel Cordeiro, all brought in by Sousa. Basel's 2014–15 Swiss Super League season began on 19 July with the away tie against FC Aarau. They went on to win the league championship for the sixth time in a row. In the Swiss Cup, Basel started in the first round on 23 August with an away tie against CS Italien (GE). For the third season in a row, however, they ended as runners-up, losing 0–3 to FC Sion in the final.
Basel entered the Champions League in the group stage. They reached the knockout phase against Liverpool on 9 December on a night in which Lazar Marković was sent off for the opponents. Basel then lost to Porto in the Round of 16.
Paulo Sousa left the club prior to the 2015–16 season for Fiorentina; he was replaced by FC Thun head coach Urs Fischer on 18 June. Basel's priority aim for the season was to win the league championship for the seventh time in a row. Basel's 2015–16 Swiss Super League season began well with a home victory on 18 July against FC Vaduz. In fact, they started the season very well, winning each of their first eight games. Basel's clear aim for the 2015–16 Swiss Cup was to regain the title that they last won four seasons earlier and in the first round of the competition Basel were drawn away against Meyrin FC and in the second round against YF Juventus. Then, in the third round, Basel were drawn away against SV Muttenz at the Margelacker in front of a stadium record attendance of 5,800. The fourth round was played away in the Stade Tourbillon against Sion, but Basel lost in a penalty shootout.
Basel entered into the 2015–16 Champions League season in the Third qualifying round. Their initial aim was to remain in the competition and reach the group stage. In the third qualifying round, they were drawn against Lech Poznań and in the play-off round against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Basel failed to qualify for the Champions League group stage, thus they dropped into the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League group stage. Here they were drawn into Group I, together with Fiorentina, Lech Poznań and Belenenses. Because they finished as group winners, Basel continued in the knockout phase in February 2016. Basel were drawn against French side Saint-Étienne. They advanced on away goals after a 4–4 aggregate draw with Saint-Étienne. They were knocked out of the tournament by the eventual winners, Sevilla, 3–0 in the round of 16.
On 30 April 2016, Basel confirmed a seventh consecutive Swiss national championship with a 2–1 win over FC Sion at St. Jakob-Park. At the end of the season Basel won the title 14 points ahead of Young Boys.
Urs Fischer remained as manager and the clubs priority aim for the new season is to win the league championship for the eighth consecutive time. The 2016–17 Swiss Super League season started on the weekend 23/24 July, where Basel beat Sion. Basel's clear aim for the 2016–17 Swiss Cup is to regain the title that they last won 2012. In the first round they have been drawn away against Rapperswil-Jona. Basel entered into this season's Champions League in the Group stage. They were drawn with French champions Paris Saint-Germain, English team Arsenal and Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad. They finished a disappointing 4th, after losing home and away to Paris Saint-Germain (1-2 and 0-3 respectively) and to Arsenal F.C. (1-4 and 0-2 respectively), in addition to collecting 2 points from bore draws against Ludogorets Razgrad. This would be the first time in 10 years that the Rot-Blau would not be playing European Football after Christmas.
FC Basel is known for having a big and loyal local following. When polls are conducted about the most passionate club football fans, FC Basel's fans usually make the top 200 if not top 100 in the world, resulting in what is by far the highest average attendance in Switzerland with around 30,000 fans attending every home game and with the new extension being built that number is expected to rise to around 40,000. The fans have also made themselves a name in numerous international matches in recent years.
FCB's most internationally famous fan is tennis star Roger Federer. Federer is a Basel native and has supported the club since childhood and appears in attendance of many Basel matches. In one interview Federer said if he were not as good of a tennis player as he is today, he would have without a doubt tried to play football. He went on to say that if he had been successful in the beautiful game, he would have loved to play for FC Basel.
In November 2010 their supporters caused the game against FC Luzern to be stopped after they threw hundreds of tennis balls onto the pitch. This was in protest at the kick off times being moved to accommodate a tennis tournament on the TV schedule.
The city of Basel and the city of Zürich have a long-standing rivalry. Therefore, FCB's most traditional and fiercest rivals are Grasshopper Club Zürich and FC Zürich. In the past few seasons, the rivalry between FC Zürich and Basel has been fueled by Zürich's narrow league championship wins over Basel. Supporters from both sides have caused trouble in the past years, with the worst incident happening in May 2006. Basel had won the league in 2003–04 and 2004–05 and were set to make it three in a row if they won or drew against Zürich at home on the last day of the 2005–06 season. Zürich took the lead after a late goal from Iulian Filipescu and consequently won the match and the league. After the final whistle, players and fans from both teams started fighting on the pitch and in the stands. This incident has fueled hatred and bitterness between fans from FC Zürich and FC Basel. There is controversy about which rivalry is bigger, the one with Grasshopper or FC Zürich, but it usually depends on the success of these teams.
Basel is known throughout Switzerland for having a good youth system. It has produced Swiss internationals such as Erni Maissen, Adrian Knup, Alexander Frei, Marco Streller, Philipp and David Degen. Since Basel moved into the St. Jakob-Park in 2001, they have strengthened their youth academy and many young talents like the Felipe Caicedo, Ivan Rakitić, Zdravko Kuzmanović, Xherdan Shaqiri and Yann Sommer along with Eren Derdiyok have risen through the ranks there. Since 2001, more than 40 successful players have risen through the Basel youth system and joined their first team, including:
FC Basel play their home games at the 37,500 capacity St. Jakob-Park.
UEFA have awarded the stadium a 4-star rating, the highest rating that could be given to a stadium of that capacity. St. Jakob-Park was opened in 2001, originally holding a maximum attendance of 33,433. The stadium was expanded with a new stand (sector G) and upgraded to 42,500 due to Switzerland co-hosting UEFA Euro 2008. After Euro 2008, a number of seats were removed, thus giving more space between them, and the capacity was reduced 37,500 seats. The stadium is nicknamed "Joggeli" by the fans and has two restaurants, Restaurant UNO and Hattrick's Sports Bar, as well as a shopping centre which opened on 1 November 2001. It also has parking space for 680 cars and has its own train station. St. Jakob-Park hosted six matches during Euro 2008, including the opening game between Switzerland and Czech Republic, and a semi-final between Germany and Turkey. The most interesting feature of the stadium is the translucent outer layer, which can be illuminated in different colours for impressive effects; this effect was copied three years later for Bayern Munich's new stadium, the Allianz Arena.
Before St. Jakob-Park was built, FC Basel played home games in the Landhof (in the Quarter Kleinbasel) and, following the 1954 FIFA World Cup, in the newly built St. Jakob Stadium which was on the same site as the current stadium. During the construction period of St. Jakob-Park, Basel's home matches were played at the Stadion Schützenmatte.
In 2016, the UEFA Europa League final was played at St. Jakob-Park. FC Concordia Basel – FC Basel are the parent-club of local side Concordia who currently play in the 1. Liga Classic. Many of Basel's youth players, such as Patrik Baumann, Beg Ferati and Simone Grippo, have had loan spells there. Basel have also signed a number players from Concordia, like Louis Crayton and Murat Yakin. Miroslav König, Riccardo Meili, André Muff and Dominik Ritter are just a few ex-Basel players who have gone on to play for Concordia.
FC Basel's traditional kit is a red and blue shirt. Due to the fact that some of the founders were members of the "Basler Ruder-Club", whose colors were red and blue, they adopted those colours for their new club. FC Basel's outfit is completed by blue shorts with gold trim and blue socks with red trim. From this comes the nickname "RotBlau" which is Swiss German and German for "RedBlue". Their away kit is all white with two stripes down the middle, the left being red and the right being blue. FC Basel's kits were formerly manufactured by Nike, however in the summer of 2012 a new contract was formed with Adidas to produce the kits until 2017. The main sponsor is Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical company which is based in the city of Basel. On the inside tag of the jerseys is inscribed "Rot isch unseri Liebi, Blau die ewigi Treui, Basel unseri Stadt." This roughly translates to "Red is our love, blue the eternal loyalty, Basel our city."
The famous "Blaugrana" colours of Barcelona are said to have originated from the Rotblau colours of FC Basel. FC Barcelona was founded by former Basel captain Joan Gamper. For the 2008–09 season, Basel changed their shirt to resemble the traditional Barcelona shirt (red and blue vertical stripes). Barcelona changed theirs to one half of the shirt red, the other blue, which happens to resemble the traditional Basel shirt.
Basel's current logo is a shield, the left half red and the right half blue. The shield is outlined with gold and in the centre in gold letters it reads "FCB", for "Football Club Basel" or "Fussballclub Basel". The logo is worn in the centre of the shirt opposed to on the traditional left-hand side. Like the club colours of Basel, the logo has a striking resemblance to that of Barcelona's. There are theories that suggest that the founder of Barcelona, being at one time the captain of Basel, reincorporated the logo of Basel to that of Barcelona. The resemblances seem clear: both logos seem to incorporate the shield design, as do most other clubs. Most notably, however, is the FCB acronyms on both logos and the red-blue colours, outlined in gold. Additionally, the football that lies on the left side of the Basel logo seems to be the exact shape, type and colour as that of the Barcelona logo in the bottom centre. Because of this, many say that Basel was the inspiration in the process of founding Barcelona.
Companies that Basel currently has sponsorship deals with include:Novartis – Main Sponsor
Adidas – Kit Manufacturer
Volkswagen – Official Sponsor
Pirelli – Official Sponsor
Muba – Official Sponsor
UBS – Official Sponsor
Herren Globus – Official Sponsor
Alcatel Lucent – Official Sponsor
Basler Versicherungen – Official Sponsor
Europa Park – Official Sponsor
Crypto AG – Part Time Sponsor
Highest stage reached in Champions League: Round of 16 (2002–03, 2011–12, 2014–15)
Highest stage reached in UEFA Europa League: semi-finals (2012–13), quarter-finals (2013–14)
Biggest European home win: Basel 7–0 Folgore (24 August 2000, UEFA Cup qualifying round second leg)
Biggest European away win: Fram 0–5 Basel (18 September 1973, European Champion Clubs' Cup first round first leg)
Biggest European home defeat: Basel 0–5 Barcelona (22 October 2008, UEFA Champions League)
Biggest European away defeat: Bayern Munich 7–0 Basel (13 March 2012, UEFA Champions League knockout stage)
Most league appearances: Massimo Ceccaroni (398)
Most league goals: Josef Hügi (244)
Record number of consecutive home games unbeaten: 59 (February 2003 to May 2006)
Record number of consecutive unbeaten games: 26 (2011–12)
Highest home game attendance (St. Jakob Stadium): 60,000
Highest home game attendance (St. Jakob-Park): 42,500
Most capped foreign player: Teófilo Cubillas, 81 caps, Peru
Most capped Swiss player: Alexander Frei, 82 caps
Swiss Super League
Winners (19): 1952–53, 1966–67, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1979–80, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Winners (11): 1932–33, 1946–47, 1962–63, 1966–67, 1974–75, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2011–12
Swiss League Cup
Winners (1): 1972
UEFA Champions League
Last 16: 2011–12, 2014–15
UEFA Europa League
Coppa delle Alpi
Winners (3): 1969, 1970, 1981
As of 17 March 2015As of 5 February 2017
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.020 Following the 2001–02 season, the club retired the number of Massimo Ceccaroni, a Basel native who played his entire senior career with FCB, between 1987 and 2002.
120 The number 12 in the Basel squad became vacant on 1 July 2008. In October of that year, the board of managing directors announced their decision to dedicate this number to their fans.
As of 4 September 2016
The following players are listed by Basel's website as Under-21 players. The team play in the 1. Liga Promotion.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
There is no official Basel U-19 team, because a U-19 championship does not exist in Swiss football. The team was quickly put together in the 2011–12 season from the youngest members of the first team, the younger Under-21 and the Under-18 teams who were eligible to play in the 2011–12 NextGen Series. Note: Results and dates can be found here 2011–12 NextGen series.
Because Basel qualified for the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League the Under-19 team was again called to life and played in the 2013–14 UEFA Youth League. This time the members of this squad were solely members from the U-21 and U-18 teams, but the team only trained together once a week. Note: Results and dates can be found here 2013–14 UEFA Youth League.
A year later Basel qualified for the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League. Again Basel were eligible to play in the 2014–15 UEFA Youth League and they took the matter a lot more seriously than the year before. Reserve team manager Thomas Häberli was also appointed as U-19 coach. Häberli's U-19 squad was still a mix between the younger U-21 and the older U-18 teams, but the team had training together virtually daily. This resulted with improved results, the team winning four games from their six. Note: Results and dates can be found here 2014–15 UEFA Youth League.
The club also have 12 further youth teams: Under-18, Under-17 (Team Basel/Jura), Under-16, Under-15, Under-14, Under-13 (Footeco), Under-12 (Junioren D9 Promotion), Under-11 (Junioren Ea), Under-10 (Junioren Eb), Under-9 (Junioren F), Under-8 (Junioren F) and Bebbi (Under-7).
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
A few former players and former coaches are considered by the fans to be memorable. This because of their long and outstanding contributions towards the club, to some degree even decades after the end of their careers. Therefore, have a very special status with the fans. The following are a few examples:
NOTE: Early history is largely unknown.
In January 2012, at the club's annual general meeting Gisela Oeri was nominated honorary president.
FC Basel has a team in the Superleague Formula race car series where football teams lend their name to cars. GU-Racing International has operated the car for all seasons and Max Wissel has driven the car in all the races. FC Basel and Wissel have won one race, in the 2009 season at Donington Park. The team have scored three other podiums in the series.