Swiss upstarts have United searching for right chemistry
Basel is a centre of the pharmaceutical industry and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson must find the right formula against the Swiss champions to avoid a premature Champions League exit on Wednesday.sports Updated: Dec 06, 2011 23:49 IST
Basel is a centre of the pharmaceutical industry and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson must find the right formula against the Swiss champions to avoid a premature Champions League exit on Wednesday.
United, who have failed to get past the group stage only twice in 16 previous Champions League appearances, still need a point away to FC Basel to complete what is usually the formality of qualifying for the knockout stages. A win for the hosts would send them through along with Benfica who have already made sure of taking one of the two places out of Group C.
Although unbeaten with nine points, one more than third-place Basel, Ferguson's side have only managed two wins in five matches, both of them against rank Romanian outsiders Otelul Galati.
They drew home and away against Benfica and were astonishingly held 3-3 at home by Basel earlier in the group, needing a last-gasp goal from Ashley Young to salvage a point.
Basel, 2-0 down at halftime in that game, scored three times in 18 almost surreal second-half minutes in a performance which their players still struggle to come to terms with.
"It is amazing when you are playing in front of a big crowd against players you know from the television and a club such a great tradition and name," said Basel striker Alexander Frei, who scored twice in that match.
"We are proud we got a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford and it will be important for the rest of our careers."
Hope for Silva lining
Manager Roberto Mancini has already started contemplating life in the Europa League as Manchester City's chances of reaching the knockout stages look bleak despite playmaker David Silva's belief they can still win the whole competition. They host Bayern Munich.