Although its most storied glory days were in the late 1960s and '70s, FC Basel has made a fierce comeback in recent years by beating some of Europe’s big clubs. This tiny club from the foothills of the Swiss Alps is now making major headway in the European football scene – here's a look at some of the team's standout moments.
Founded in 1893, FC Basel has won the Swiss Super League 17 times and the Swiss Cup 11 times. Most of the early games were friendly though and Basel didn’t win a championship until its 40th year. In the 1932–1933 season, Basel made it to the final, playing against arch-rival Grasshopper Club Zürich at the Hardturm Stadium. Basel defeated Zurich 4-3 and stole its claim to the national title in one of the best cup finals in Swiss football history. Although the 1980s saw a rough patch for Basel, the team has competed in every European competition from 1999 to 2000.
Recent wins and losses
In the 2011–2012 Champions League, FC Basel beat Manchester United 2-1 in the final group stage match, which prevented the English club from advancing to the next round. Basel then beat Bayern Munich 1-0 but lost 7-0 in the return match. In 2014, FC Basel won against Chelsea in the Champions League group stage, both at home and away. But the club's biggest triumph was casting Liverpool out of the tournament altogether, when it drew 1-1.
Key players, fans and rivalries
Although the team lost two of its best players, Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri, to Chelsea FC and Inter Milan respectively, Basel is known throughout Switzerland for having a strong youth side. Many of its stars, including Shaqiri, have trained and risen through Basel's youth development system: Felipe Caicedo, Ivan Rakitić, Zdravko Kuzmanović, Yann Sommer and Eren Derdiyok.
Basel boasts a large fan base, with an average of 30,000 fans attending its home games. Its biggest rivals are Grasshopper Club Zürich and FC Zürich. In the past few seasons, FC Zürich won narrowly over FC Basel, fueling their rivalry even further. Club allegiances in the past were often a matter of social class but today they're more often matters of local pride and superstar players, and fans on both sides have occasionally stirred up trouble.
FC Basel’s stadium is St. Jacob-Park, also affectionately known as Joggeli. The stadium first opened in 2001 and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since awarded the stadium a four-star rating, which is the highest a stadium of its size may receive. Fans are welcome to dine before and after matches at either one of the stadium's two restaurants, Rotblau Bar/Bistro and Restaurant UNO. If you're planning a visit on your next trip, the stadium is just a 15-minute tram ride from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Basel, located in the city center.