Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Ramzi Rambles: A Ramble in Basel

A Ramble in Basel

This is a great opportunity for us, Barcelona fans, to know more about FC Basel, at least so we don’t approach the game blind and confused. I try my best not to bluff trying to show that I know when I don't really know, so instead of trying to make up a poor theoretical case I decided to contact some of my friends - new friends actually :) They are as loyal supporting and following Fc Basel as we are for Barcelona, so you know what kind of fans I am talking about!

And here I pass you the valuable info we discussed about the game, hoping that you will find it as useful as I believe it is.

Ramzi: “How do you introduce yourself as a Basel Fc fan?”

Dominik: “I’m an FC Basel fan ever since. My first game I've attended live was in 1986. From then on I was caught by the fever of "red and blue".

Rene': “I am a loyal supporter of FC Basel since the early seventies and I love to travel with FCB around Europe."

Ramzi: “Can you please tell us more about FC Basel?"

Dominik: "FC Basel was founded in 1893. It is one of the most successful clubs in Switzerland. During its more than 100 years of history, the FC Basel has two eras which stand for its success. From 1965 to 1982 Helmut Benthaus was the coach which brought success to Basel. In his time we won the championship seven times and the national cup six times. In the late eighties the club was relegated to the second league and came back in the first league (called Super League) in 1993. In 2001 the new stadium opened and the second big area started. Since 1999 Christian Gross is the coach and with him Basel won four championships and four national cup titles and reached the second stage of the group phase in the Champions league season 2002."

Rene': “FC Basel is also more than a club. In the City and Region of Basel, the club became part of culture in the late sixties-early seventies, because the club started to be very successful. After many up's and down's in the eighties and nineties, the club has become the most successful Swiss football team in the years since 2001. Together with the new stadium opened in 2001, the club started to dominate Swiss League. In 2002 we won the Championship first time since 22 years. After that we were very successful in the Champions League, by kicking out Celtic Glasgow and FC Liverpool. Since 2002 we have been waiting anxiously to be back in the Champions League, so here we are again. Basel is one of these rare "football cities".

Ramzi: "How is it going so far in the league?"

Dominik: "The start was not optimal so far as we had some main players dealing with injuries as striker Marco Streller and midfielder Ivan Ergic. Also the new players still have to be integrated in the time. Actually we are sharing first place with the FC Zurich."

Rene': "We have had a good start in the league as far as results are concerned, but recent matches were not as good as they should have been. We lost at home against Young Boys Bern and had a draw at Grasshoppers away. Due to that we are only second. Team performance has been moderate at the beginning, then I felt they are getting together by beating Zürich 1-4 away, but since then the performances have been below par."

Ramzi:" And in the Champions League?"

Dominik: "Our results in the Champions league are not what we expected so far. The start with the game against Shaktar Donetsk was bad luck. We lost 1-2 but had a lot of good opportunities. Then came the game against Sporting where we stopped playing football after 60 minutes and then got two goals losing 0-2. The team still needs time to find itself."

Rene': “Well, we were not ready against Donetsk. The team did not perform well, although one has to say that Donetsk are really a good team. In Lissabon we beat ourselves by an own goal, but there the performance was good. I felt they are very cautious, but they played much better than against Donetsk. Then came this unlucky goal and that was it. A draw would have been possible.”

Ramzi: "How can you describe the emotions of FC Basel fans before the big game against Barcelona?"

Dominik: "The game against Barcelona surely is a big thing. But the Champions League as such already brought big emotions and the fans are enthusiastic to see their team playing in the Champions league, regardless of the opponent. Because Barcelona and Basel share the club colors, this game is probably a little more special than others."

Rene': “Huge emotions, that is just great. We know about FC Barcelona and we deeply respect this club, some say it's our "little" brother, you know this rumors about Joan Gamper. But really, it is just wonderful to play in Champions League against such a club like yours, we really appreciate that.”

Ramzi: "What are the expectations for the game? You think a draw will be the ultimate target? Or Basel will be more risky/ambitious? How do you describe Basel's coach philosophy? "

Dominik: "The coach's philosophy is safety first. So far we had one game in the national cup (last Friday), where we played with two strikers. The game is completely different from 2002 when Basel played the Champions League and was known for it's tremendous speed in the first half, striking almost in every game in the first 15 minutes. The coach and the players want to win the game, that's for sure. They know that Barcelona at a normal day is better, but they would never go out on the pitch and think to play a draw. That would be against the coach's philosophy at all."

Rene': “Like for every game, we need three points. We'll see what will be after, but football is also about winning and we don't need to go on the pitch and being happy with a draw right from the beginning. Of course we know very well who you are and what we are, but it's a game 11 against 11 and in football everything is possible. Sometimes the big risk is to be too inpatient in the game, we shall have very few chance and we have to be very effective in using them. But most important is a rock solid defensive performance, we know your guys......

The coach Christian Gross? I very much respect him. Without means, he is the most successful Swiss coach and simply the best. He is a extremely focused guy, living only for football. He is very much result oriented, working very hard on the details. His biggest plus is his personality and character: he is good guy who improved a lot. He is working very hard. Some people say he is sometimes too narrow in his mind, I call it focused on our success.”

Ramzi: “What about the starting line up? And tactics expected?"

Dominik: "Some positions will be decided at Wednesday only, as some player still have some injury problems. But it's almost 100% sure, that the coach will start with a 4-5-1, anything else than one striker would have been a surprise, but I just knew that the coach, Christian Gross, will play two strikers for this game Eren Derdiyok and Marco Streller, both play in the Swiss national team. "

Rene': “Tactics will be 4-5-1 and line up could be: GK: Costanzo, RB: Zanni, LB: Safari, CB: Marque and Abraham, RW: Carlitos or Rubio, Midfielders: Ergic and Huggel and Gelabert , LW: is hard to say, either Stocker or Perovic, forward will be Streller.

There are some questions for me in the line up. Defense is clear, but Carlitos and Chipperfield are not fully fit and we don’t know yet. If Chipperfield is ready he might play in midfield or as left winger, rather in the centre for Gelabert. It also could be that we start with Derdiyok as RW and Rubio on the left. The left-wingers Stocker and Perovic haven't had very solid performances in the last games. So there is some options, all of them are good enough to get a result, it depends a bit on Carlitos & Chipperfield's health and the coach's ideas.”

Ramzi: "Who are the most Dangerous players that may cause threat on Barcelona defense and how? Skilled? Tall and have good headings in the box? Strong shots? And don't worry, it will be our little secret and we will not tell Guardiola about it :)”

Dominik: "The tall striker Marco Streller, Scott Chipperfield with his rushes on a good day and Ivan Ergic and Benjamin Huggel with their sharp shots. Also Marco Perovic is a fantastic player and a free-kick specialist. But coach Christian Gross has let him sit on the bench recently and nobody knows why."

Rene': “On a good day we have many dangerous players. Our goals are made mostly by midfielders. It will not be a single player that will cause threat like Messi, Henry or Eto’o, it can only be the team. We are often successful in free kicks and corners, we've got a bunch of tall guys. Also direct free kicks are potential weapons, on a good day. But for this, we have to come near to your box, which might not be too easy, right?”

Ramzi: “What about the weakness?”

Dominik: "The defense as such is very inexperienced and only plays together since this season. If you have fast players they will get in real trouble..."

Rene': “Speed is a threat; we've seen that against Donetsk. Individual speed of players, but also passing, one touch football.”

Ramzi: "Based on what you mentioned, how do you think Barcelona will cause most of the damage?"

Dominik: "If Barcelona plays fast and over the side, they will cause the most damage."

Rene': “You love speed ball don't you? It's our big problem that the pace in Swiss league is too low and in the Champions league it's a much faster game. Our success depends on how we can adopt to this.”

Ramzi: "Give us your predictions for the result"

Dominik: "If Barcelona will not underestimate Basel, they will win the game, but not with more than two goals differences."

Rene': “I give you two predictions one by my heart and a realistic one: heart says we will win 2-1, realistically we loose both games.”

Ramzi: "A message to Barcelona fans?"

Dominik: "If you have the chance to come to the St. Jakbo Park Stadium, do so. We only have a capacity of 34'000 but our fans are singing and cheering the whole game long. You will be surprised about the enthusiasm Swiss football fans can have."

Rene': “Welcome to all fans in Basel, please visit the "Münster" and enjoy our small but nice city. Looking forward to the re-match in November, it's just a great event for us.”

Ramzi: "Thank you Guys and you are welcomed to share us the moments of the game on the Barcelona Transfer Zone blog"

Now I will not add much, but will only shed a light on the fact that in Pep Guardiola mind, four players are on the top of his rotation list for being so active recently with Barcelona and on international level: Abidal, Alves, Pique and Iniesta. Of course he will not bench them all against Basel FC, but I feel it will be Iniesta and Pique turn this time.

The other remark is that I hope Henry play this game, and I hope pep catches “the moment”, this guy is on the way up, and it's crucial that he get the boost because its exactly the right time to win him back, I say that and I am neither carried away by the assist he made against Athletic Bilbao – where Henry fans made it the game of Henry - neither I turn my back – as some intend to do – for the fact that lately he is doing a great job with Barcelona and for France. But as I always say, I want him to play a striker role, not a winger, so either beside Eto’o while a midfielder open to the left doing the winger role, or by giving Eto’o some rest and using Henry instead, just don’t let him play as a winger because it will be the same old continuous story.

This may turn to be Caceres big opportunity, and Bojan may have a presence but may not start.

Last Remark, it will be FCB against FCB, and the two teams wear same colors – so we will see our men in blue at Basel, all that make the game more interesting.

Unlike my previous Rambles, I will not go too much in analyzing Barcelona starting ups and tactics, I will leave that for you, as I saved my effort to explore the team we will play against, FC Basel (for more statistics about FC Basel click here).

I hope this ramble can act as a warm up so we approach the game with more excitement.

Now pull your socks up, and to the game!


pep said...

Good job, Ramzi!

Great read, really interesting to have this background information to go into the game!

Anonymous said...

Streller is a good forward, but you can't see him cause much problems to our defense.

InieStar said...

I can only say, i love this blog. And thank you for Pep, Ramzi and who ever are helping to make this blog better and better:)

This sort of reading i've been missing my whole Barca fan carrier. It is great to read and to know all about our club.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Iniestar you take words from my mouth. Fantastic work pep, ramzi and others ;)

Anonymous said...

really nice job from u Ramzi, first when u entered in this blog i didnt realize u were such a die-hard barca fan, anyway those informations are more than welcomed. and thanks for the kinda humanitarian job ur makin:P( as u dont get paid i called it that way.) that shows how much u love this club both u and Pep. u should apply for our clubs official website im sure u are much better than most of them there. anyway very nice job from u

John said...

Hi there,

Greeting from Mundo Albiceleste, the blog in town that talk about Argentina and Football.

I will also be looking forward to all the games from Match Day 3. Hoping to see Carlos Tevez’s returns with a bang against Celtic. Kun Aguero to make a big night for Atletico against Javier Mascherano’s Liverpool.

I feel Lionel Messi will want to return to his best for Barca when they take on Basel. Juve are having a bad patch and maybe Gonzalo Higuain will strike another dagger into the Old Lady heart.

Anyway, what is that you’re looking forward from the next two days fixtures. Maybe you might want to give us your insight view on the upcoming matches? Will love to hear them.


Posts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramzi said...

Glad you like it, and thanx for sweet comments (and harsh comments are more than welcomed, just in case I got some while I am away from pc :)

Special thanks for Dominik and Rene for being so generous offering us time and effort and knowledge.

I also want to thank Miguel and Fabian, and all Fc Basel fans who are that excited to live all the moments of the games.

Last but not least, thanks for Isaiah on the offside blog, he suggested the statistics website I mentioned in this preview.

I hope our friends in Basel keep us updated regarding the news and atmosphere in Basel in the following 24 hours, I am sure if they had time for that, they will offer us that favor. And of course they are more than welcomed to join us in this discussion before the game.

Pep, you got a mail :))

Anonymous said...

Surprised that you didn't mention the history between Basel and Barca:

Barcelona prepare to meet their makers


Ramzi said...

Cali Socis you definitely have a point in that, Its just I expected that each and every preview on the net about the game will be talking about this point, so In order not to make my preview too long to be read, I decided to be more focused on the game itself.
Rene hinted about it "some say it's our "little" brother, you know this rumors about Joan Gamper. " and now with the link you posted, I think the picture is more complete, so thank you for your add.

Anonymous said...

Starting 11:
Alves - Cáceres - Piqué - Sylvinho
Xavi - Busquets
V. Sánchez - Henry - Bojan

Eto'o -> Henry
Messi -> V. Sánchez
Iniesta -> Bojan
Abidal -> Sylvinho
Puyol - Cáceres/Piqué

My reasoning:
Basicly, this is a game we should win even with our backups. I know, its rather arrogant to say that but still, this is Basel and I belive we have the quality to se this through with some major rotation within the squad.

Considering rotations, this is not the optimal starting 11 in my opinion. But with Guddy, Márquez and Keita gone due to injuries and considering this is a match we should win, I belive we should give some of the talent a go.

Busquets has been perhaps the most positive surprise this autumn; we should play him as much as we can. Let us hope Guardiola does have a talk with in about bookings thou, since it seems he lacks when it comes to the "cool". The tendancy to draw bookings is quite alarming.

Cáceres and Piqué: Well, the former has a lot to prove. He is still young and I belive playing him whenever possible (against weaker opponents) is a must. The more he plays the better he will adapt.
Considering Piqué, atleast for me he has been a nice addition. First and foremost his positioning game has been quite good (not as good as Puyols but hey, we cant expect that). During the last game he was allright. A few passes wasnt as good as you would like (he's no Marquez) but over all he preformed well.
Giving these two players time is essential considering the longterm goals of the club.

Sylvinho... Yes, well Abidal needs a rest. Enough said.

In the midfield I would like to se Touré in the defensive position. We cant neglect such a player, even thou I belive Busquets has done a superb job playing in that position.
Given Yaya plays defensive, I belive we should use Busquets a few steps up the pitch. His major advantage over Touré is his passing game. Allways quick (althou not allways perfect). He needs time on the field... Our future star in my eyes.

On the offensive, I belive Xavi is must. This guy is perhaps the most important player in the whole team. We all saw how the last game turned out without him. Xavi is the key to victory and according to me more important than Messi or Eto'o.
Why do we need to play him against Basel? Well... Quite simple actuly, we need someone to dictate tempo, play the ball and anchor the offense. Against Athletic, this became quite clear. During the first half when Iniesta did not participate in ball distribution this became quite clear. The second half was a lot better. With Iniesta involved in the buildup, we managed to create so much more.
But Iniesta needs a rest. Thats why Xavi is a must!

Up front, Id say we should take a chance. Play V. Sánchez again, even thou his last preformance was rather dull. The lad needs experience and we should give him the benefit of doubt. Pair him with Bojan, the next Messi (yea I know its rather cheesy ^^), and se what they can accomplish.
The edge should be given to Henry. Centre-forward is is natural position, so let him play whenever we can spare Eto'o.

Rather risky you say?

Yes, it is!
But if things does not turn out like we want... Say we are down 1 or its a 0-0 at midtime, we do have Messi, Eto'o and Iniesta on the bench.
If we do have the lead, which I think we will have, we could allways bring Abidal or Puyol in if the back-4 looks insecure.

Thats my 5 cents...

Anonymous said...

Basel, are rubbish! Gross has to go, our team is not good enough for the Champions League, we will end the group with 0 pts.

derdiyok is rubbish,Stocker iis a small weak useless player, and Abraham should go to hell!!

Anonymous said...

Swiss people are known for their optimism...

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't call yourself Fan of Fc Basel.. If you do: I don't understand why.
I'm looking forward to enjoy the game with it's atmosphere. It will be fantastic no matter who will be the winner of the game. I hope this game will be something like an idol to football in the world: Football is the most important thing, not fights, pyros or police.

Enjoy Basel and the game =o)

Anonymous said...

An FC Basel fan since i can't remember I go to a game every year to see FC Basel play their magic. The game will be a beautiful one, one where it will show what true football is about!! so all you Barca fans get ready to be astonished by the 'Rot und Blau' (Red and Blue)

Ramzi said...

Anony if Fc Basel made that great show, while wearing those colors...I hope some Barcelona fans will not be confused which team to cheer for:)

No doubt this game will have a special flavor, looking forward for it!

Ramzi said...

A Live chat will take place tonight for the game, Hope all fans join us there, Basel vs Barcelona Fans ...Just don't bring anything sharp with u!

Anonymous said...

Hey ramzi, great blog setup here. I am a die hard barcelona fan, from the days of rivaldo and guardiola being im only 18. But i feel our barca team this year is one i have not seen in a while. I feel we have depth, we have hunger , we have a good coach, and most of all, all of the players feel important and they realise that barca is a great team and it takes our team to win. There is one problem i see, and i think it is our fans , not all but alot, The fans at the camp nou are finally coming around , but the fans i read on alot of blogs , are doubting pep, are doggin the sense of team, and are really not being the barca fans we need. I am a man who loves my team, bad times and good, and i cant stand these "chelsea" style gold diggin fans that we seem to have some times. They get mad when messi and all the other starters dont start. Now dont get me wrong i love messi and i do think that a certain core of players should almost always start. The likes of iniesta, messi , Xavi, puyol dani alves etc should start almost always so that we have a strong base everytime we go out. But i am a strong advocate of our youth team players playing this year , seeing as that is where messi came from lol. If we give them a chance, think of the players we can generate out of our "cantera" we have guys with the same potential as messi and fabregas and iniesta comin up every year. Look at players like pedro, jeffren suarez, gai assulin, thiago alcantara, we have great players comin through and as long as they play , they will get better. But i love the way barca is handling them selves this season. We just have to stick by them all the time and stick by pep , he is doing a good job. We do need a new goalkeeper and left back tho. Ramzi and everyone esle, good job with the blog

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