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Basel keep spirits up ahead of United showdown

Published: Tuesday 6 December 2011, 18.56CET
Heiko Vogel has called on divine inspiration as FC Basel 1893 set sights on an almighty coup: beating Manchester United FC to advance to the last 16 at their visitors' expense.
by Ben Gladwell
from Basel

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Tournament statistics

BaselMan. United

Goals scored12
 
11
Attempts on target32
 
38
Attempts off target35
 
32
Corners30
 
28
Offsides24
 
21
Fouls committed91
 
63
Yellow cards18
 
8
Red cards1
 
1
 
Published: Tuesday 6 December 2011, 18.56CET

Basel keep spirits up ahead of United showdown

Heiko Vogel has called on divine inspiration as FC Basel 1893 set sights on an almighty coup: beating Manchester United FC to advance to the last 16 at their visitors' expense.

Heiko Vogel says FC Basel 1893 will have to be at their best when they meet Manchester United FC on Wednesday, but to earn the win they require to advance from UEFA Champions League Group C at the English side's expense "a lot has got to come from above too". Sir Alex Ferguson, a veteran of these big nights, believes experience will tell, especially for a side unbeaten in eight away games in the UEFA Champions League. There will, he promises, be no repeat of the 3-3 draw these teams played out at Old Trafford in September.

I think everyone, not just in this city but across Swiss football, is looking forward to this game. For us it's a great climax to a successful year
Heiko Vogel
We have had a few injuries this year which have not been helpful, but we have a strong squad
Sir Alex Ferguson

Basel
Coach Heiko Vogel

I think everyone, not just in this city but across Swiss football, is looking forward to this game. For us it's a great climax to a successful year – I hope we can pull off the big coup. Everybody can feel the level of anticipation, but the mood with me and my team is of the necessary relaxation; we are focused.

Man U are one of the strongest teams in the world and the fact they were in the final last year against, in my opinion, the strongest team in the world, speaks volumes. For me Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the all-time greats and he is unique in being at one club and enjoying success for such a long time; it's extraordinary.

Wayne Rooney is the sort of player who can make a difference to any team in the world so obviously we will be concentrating on cancelling him out. I believe that if we want to win, then a lot has got to come from us and a lot has got to come from above too.

Weekend result
Saturday: Basel 1-0 FC Luzern (Streller 70)
Colomba; Steinhöfer, Abraham, Dragović, Park (Degen 57); Shaqiri, Cabral, G Xhaka (Chipperfield 84), F Frei (Stocker 74); A Frei, Streller

• Marco Streller scored his third goal in as many appearances as Basel beat the side that began the weekend second in the Super League, their ninth successive domestic victory. They have won 15 of their last 19 games in all competitions.

Team news
Vogel says Benjamin Huggel will be given every chance to shake off a calf problem that forced him to miss Saturday's game, though "as things stand he will not start". Valentin Stocker did feature against Luzern, his first appearance since 23 April because of a knee ligament injury.

Manchester United
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Obviously we will have to rely on the experience we have away from home, a very good record. I think there was some complacency in the game [against Basel on matchday two] when we went 2-0 up and missed a lot of chances in the first half. Basel had good chances in the first half, too. It was a strange game. Fortunately we managed to wake up late on to get an equaliser which has maybe rescued us in this section.

These players have been involved in finals, semi-finals, quarter-finals and big games in the Premier League, so we have the experience of playing in big games all of the time. Tomorrow is exactly the same situation: it's a big game, another one. We have had a few injuries this year which have not been helpful, but we have a strong squad and that squad will see us through, no question.

I think concentration levels in recent games have been very good and that is important in matches like tomorrow. We need focus. It will be a fantastic atmosphere: I have been here in the past and the atmosphere is very powerful and helps Basel.

Weekend result
Saturday: Aston Villa FC 0-1 Manchester United (Jones 20)
Lindegaard; Smalling, Vidić, Ferdinand (Giggs 64), Evra; Nani, Carrick, Jones; Young (Welbeck 79), Rooney, Hernández (Valencia 12)

• Phil Jones scored his first club career goal in his 60th appearance for United and Blackburn Rovers FC as the English champions extended their unbeaten Premier League run to five matches, and ended a sequence of three games without a win in all competitions.

Team news
Michael Carrick serves a one-match ban and Javier Hernández will not play after suffering ankle ligament damage on Saturday. Dimitar Berbatov (ankle), Rafael (unspecified) and Fabio (hamstring) also miss out, while Anderson (knee), Michael Owen (thigh) and Tom Cleverley (ankle) are long-term absentees.

Match fact
In 16 previous UEFA Champions League group stage campaigns, United have failed to progress only twice – in 1994/95 and 2005/06.

Last updated: 27/11/12 6.08CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007661/prematch/preview/index.html#basel+united+test

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