Conference League

Route to the quarter-finals, history, current form: all you need to know on FC Basel

After a battling run, FC Basel hope to make it into the final four of a European competition for the second time in its rich history. Before the first ever clash between the two sides on Thursday at 9pm at the Parc Saint-Jacques, here is everything you need to know about Les Niçois' opponents.


With the game against Le Gym, the Swiss side are preparing to play in their 17th and 18th match of this year's Conférence League.

Having finished in second place in the Swiss league last season, FC Basel had to get through three preliminary rounds before reaching the Group Stage. And Pelmard and his teammates did just that, despite tight encounters against Crusaders (2-0, 1-1), Brøndby (0-1, 2-1 + 3-1 on penalties) and CSKA Sofia (0-1, 2-0).

The group stage was just as eventful and the Red and Blues finished second on equal points behind Slovan Bratislava, but ahead of FC Pyunik (Armenia) and Zalgiris Vilnius (Lithuania). A result that forced them to play another play-off match against Trabzonspor (Turkey), during which the Rhinelanders secured the victory in the return leg (0-1, 2-0).

In the Round of 16, FCB were back in action against Bratislava and once again managed to turn around a tricky situation. After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, Le Gym's next opponent were trailing 2-0 at the break in Slovakia, before turning the match on its head and qualifying in epic style (2-2, 2-2 + 4-1 on penalties).


Founded on 15 November 1893, FC Basel has become one of the most historic clubs in Swiss football and a well-known European side in its 129 years of existence.

A giant of the Swiss league, which they have won on 20 occasions, FCB had an initial period of success between 1967 and 1980, during which they won the league on seven occasions and achieved their first league-cup double in the club's history in 1966/1967.

They then put their name on the European football map in 1973/1974 when they reached the quarter-finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup, which is still the best performance in the club's history in the UEFA Champions League (the same as Le Gym).

The second golden period for the Swiss side coincided with the start of the 21st century. 22 years after their last trophy win, FC Basel achieved their second league-cup double in the 2001/2002 season, reinstating themselves as the number one club in Switzerland. This status was confirmed in the 2010s, when FCB won eight consecutive league titles between 2010 and 2017, a first in the history of Swiss football.

This period is also synonymous with the club's stabilisation on the European scene. It was particularly marked by historic victories, including a win over Manchester United (2-1), allowing the Swiss side to make it into the knock-out stages of the Champions league and send Sir Alex Ferguson's team packing in 2011/2012. Swept away by Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 despite a victory in the first leg (1-0, 0-7), Basel then reached this stage of the competition on two occasions during the course of the decade: in 2014/2015, beaten by FC Porto, then in 2017/2018, beaten despite a second leg victory over Manchester City (0-4, 2-1).

Inspired by a Swiss backbone (Frei, Shaqiri, Sommer, Xhaka…), FC Basel pulled off another historic performance when they made it into the final four of the Europa League in 2012/2013, only beaten by Chelsea after having knocked out Tottenham and Zenit Saint-Petersburg.

Eliminated in the Round of 16 of last year's Conference League by Olympique de Marseille, the club has already bettered that feat before they face Le Gym in the quarter-finals of the same competition this season.


Despite being a major player in Swiss football, FC Basel won't take the title from Young Boys this year, as the side from Bern currently boast a 19-point-lead in the Super League. While FC Basel have always been on the podium in each of the last five seasons (4x 2nd and 1x 3rd), Young Boys have won the title in four of the last five seasons. Only FC Zurich could stop Jordan Lotomba's former club from being crowned champions last season.

In fact it was against the side from Zurich that Dan Ndoye and his teammates played last Saturday. The Swiss “Klassiker” ended in a draw (1-1).

However, Basel are still in the fight for a top-four finish and a 22nd consecutive European qualification. Now under the leadership of Heiko Vogel, who replaced Alexander Frei in February, FCB are one point behind third place with nine games to go. The goal is more than realistic for the Rhinelanders, who were recently eliminated in the Swiss Cup semi-finals (a 4-2 loss to Young Boys on April 4).

*excluding the Intertoto Cup