"A bitter pill to swallow" was how FC Basel 1893's Valentin Stocker termed defeat at FC Schalke 04 while Jefferson Farfán is happy to take on all-comers in the last 16.
Jefferson Farfán told UEFA.com he felt Ivan Ivanov's first-half dismissal was the key moment in FC Schalke 04's 2-0 victory over FC Basel 1893 that took them through as UEFA Champions League Group E runners-up ahead of their Swiss visitors.
The winger set up both goals and while Farfán contemplated who the Royal Blues might face in the round of 16, Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer sought positives in the Swiss champions' upcoming UEFA Europa League adventure.
Jefferson Farfán, Schalke forward
The red card was perhaps the decisive moment in my opinion. After that we knew we had to get a result. Basel are a strong side, but with our fans behind us we deserved to beat them. I feel really good at the moment.
I should have scored really – I let a lot of good chances pass me by – but at the end of the day it does not matter too much because we won the game. Long may it continue. I do not mind who we get in the last 16. We need to beat whoever we are up against. The fact all four Bundesliga clubs are through gives a good indication of the quality of our league. Hopefully it will stay that way too.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke defender
Obviously I was annoyed to have to come off injured in the first half but we had the game under control. Basel never really created any proper chances and, to be fair, nor did we, but we felt comfortable with the clean sheet and we deservedly went on to win in the second half.
Perhaps we could have scored one or two more but we have achieved our target of reaching the last 16 and that is the most important thing. It is amazing that all four German teams have made it into the knockout rounds again this year – all deservedly so. I think it proves the quality we have in the Bundesliga compared with the rest of Europe.
Max Meyer, Schalke midfielder
I think we were focused from the very first minute. We never let Basel into the game. We had a man more and thankfully made it count in the second half by breaking the deadlock. You cannot go into these kinds of games with any fear. I certainly did not – it was all about enjoying myself.
We played well tonight and deserved to go through. I have heard about a few of the teams who have got through, but the important thing was that we made it. I do not have any preferences for the draw. It is going to be tough to get through whoever we play, though obviously it would be good to avoid the big guns.
Yann Sommer, Basel goalkeeper
Of course we are all very disappointed. Nothing really went for us today. It was our aim to remain in the Champions League over Christmas but obviously it is going to be difficult at this level when you go a man down so early in the game. I think, had it been 11 against 11, we could have matched them, but with ten men it was very difficult.
We did not really create any chances or cause them any problems in defence. Ultimately we just have to draw a line under it and crack on with the Europa League. We are complaining, but let us not forget what level we are competing at here. We are still in Europe and that is a great thing for FC Basel.
Valentin Stocker, Basel midfielder
Somehow everything seemed to go against us today. The decisive moment really was the red card for Ivanov, but there is no point moaning about the decisions. The fact is that Schalke created a number of good chances even before the red card. We just have to deal with the fact we are not in the Champions League any more. It is a bitter pill to swallow.