Vogel set for Champions League debut

BY foxsports • October 18, 2011

Heiko Vogel makes his Champions League bow as a manager on Tuesday when Basle attempt to maintain their impressive start in Group C.

Vogel followed his fellow German Thorsten Fink from FC Ingolstadt to Basle two-and-a-half years ago as his trusted assistant, not his heir.

But being first in the line of succession has presented the 35-year-old with the chance to stake his claim for the role of head coach with the Swiss champions.

Basle were brought down from their Old Trafford high with a bump last Thursday when Fink quit as head coach to join Hamburg.

The Swiss had almost claimed the scalp of Manchester United in their last Champions League outing, and even the eventual 3-3 draw after leading 3-2 had Fink talking of "a nice result" which left him "incredibly happy".

Then came a 3-0 win against Servette in the Swiss Super League, and when the international break arrived it was time to take stock.

Basle have made a slightly stuttering start to their Super League title defence, but they head their Champions League group after two rounds of games - on goals scored from Benfica, and by two points from United.

Fink brought great success to Basle, delivering two domestic championships and two cup wins, but when the chance came to join Hamburg, he jumped at it.

At the time of his departure, Fink said: "I go with the conviction that I am leaving behind a Basle team in excellent condition."

Vogel will be looking to capitalise on the legacy left by Fink, and a 5-1 cup victory over FC Schotz on Saturday was a satisfying start.

Vogel said: "I take my hat off to this team who - with the big Champions League game on Tuesday already in the back of their minds - managed to concentrate on this important game in Schotz."

There is newspaper talk in Switzerland of Basle looking to Lucerne boss Murat Yakin, but as interim coach Vogel will aim to make an impressive pitch for the job.

St Jakob-Park will be full for the visit of Benfica, but the visitors are eager to silence the home hordes.

They were resounding 4-1 winners against Pacos de Ferreira in the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay told Benfica TV: "Here comes the Champions League which is a goal we all want and hope to achieve in. Let's try to get a good result to help us reach the next stage."

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