Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

Essays, Player Reviews, Scouting Reports, Events, Match Reviews, Statistics and Things of no Importance

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

FC Basel's Campaign Through the Eyes of a Super Fangirl
Well, I'm not going to lie. Yesterday I was moved to tears as I had to sit through 90 minutes of my beloved FC Basel being slapped around by Bayern Munich. For those of you who don't know, although at this point I am confident the entire soccer universe has heard, we lost 7-0 at the Allianz Arena. I didn't cry because I was a bad sport, I didn't cry out of anger and honestly I wasn't even that upset about us crashing out of the knockout stages (I don't think I would have been able to handle another high-stress game like our last three UCL fixtures), I was just devastated that such a dream campaign had to end that way, and I felt so bad for the eleven men getting annihilated on the soccer pitch. Instead of focusing about yesterday, I'd much rather focus on everything leading up to it and select some of my favorite things from FC Basel's 2011/2012 UEFA Champions League campaign.

Fabian Frei slams his volley past De Gea
Favorite Goal: By far was Fabian Frei's post rattling volley (2:00) at Old Trafford that put us back in that game and ultimately meant that we went home with a point and some bragging rights rather than the predicted defeat. Fabian's sick strike will likely be the goal of the season and is extra special because it was also scored on the nineteenth birthday of his two teammates, Granit Xhaka and Kwang Ryong Pak, Not that he did that on purpose... Alex Frei's (no, they are not related) header against United in the last game of the group stage is in close second. It wasn't anything powerful, but it was certainly just as special and dramatic. That goal was the final nail in Manchester United's group stage coffin, the final blow to their sinking UCL campaign, the arrow directly through their Achilles tendon. It was quite a bizarre goal and contrary to Fabian's volley, dramatic diving headers are not seen as often (and after David Alaba accidentally kicked Aleksandar Dragovic in the side of the head as he dove to clear a ball, we know why) as volleys are and carry a sort of novelty. The relief on the face of Alex Frei, the roaring, rumbling cheer of the FC Basel fans in St. Jakob Park and all over Basel and the face splitting, amazed smiles of his teammates were what made that goal truly special and one that no FC Basel player or fan will be forgetting anytime soon.
Favorite Game: Well without a doubt it was the last game of the group stage against Manchester United. The goals were brilliant, the defense was organized perfectly and the midfield transition and holding play was flawless. We actually outclassed Manchester United, which is not something many teams get to say home or away. However, Basel's tie at Old Trafford would prove to have sentimental value no more than a week later when German coach Thorsten Fink announced that he was to put pen to paper with Hamburg and left Basel on a high with former assistant coach Heiko Vogel in charge.
Basel could face the UCL with an entirely different
team next season.
Now all that myself and other FC Basel fans have to focus on is a reflection of a fantastic Champions League season for Basel. We are realistic and many of us recognize that after the transfer window this summer, we could very well have a totally different team. Xherdan Shaqiri has already been lured away by bigger fish in the European soccer sea and our other young talents such as Granit Xhaka, Fabian Frei and Valentin Stocker are sure to follow. We do have exciting new talent to look forward to who are working their way through the youth ranks and into the first team, but without a doubt the accomplishments of this team this season will never be mirrored by any other squad ever again. I am so lucky that I was able to witness the unfolding of a soccer miracle and see the beauty that this game can treat us to first hand.

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