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FOOTBALL

Basel face Champions League Chelsea clash

Jose Mourinho has called on his Chelsea stars to show their killer instinct as the Blues look to clinch qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League football tournament at Basel on Tuesday.

Basel face Champions League Chelsea clash
Jose Mourinho at Basel press conference. Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Mourinho's team can guarantee their place in the knock-out stages with a draw in Switzerland, while a victory would ensure they are certain to finish top of Group E ahead of their final fixture against Steaua Bucharest.
   
That clash with Steaua comes in the middle of a busy December for Chelsea and Mourinho would prefer to be able to rest players when the Romanians visit Stamford Bridge.
   
With that in mind, Mourinho on Monday challenged his players to show they can finish off Basel, who are four points behind Chelsea in third place.
   
"It's a period I like," Mourinho said of the hectic fixture December schedule.

"It's a period where I think only the braves can survive because it's hard," he said.
   
"We go into the Christmas period and the accumulation of matches is so high, but we do it as a special group with a special mentality, enjoying the situation, forgetting we don't have a Christmas (break) like the Spanish, Italian and German players."
   
Mourinho said the motivation to win Tuesday's game is "to try to kill the situation in the group phase and give us a little bit of space in December; instead of having nine real, competitive matches, we only have eight."
   
Mourinho looks in the mood for the battle ahead after trimming his hair to a ultra-short crew cut during the recent international break.
   
The former Real Madrid boss borrowed hair clippers from Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, cut his hair himself and then sent a picture to his wife for her approval before heading home.
   
"Some people can't do what I did," Mourinho said when asked why he cut his hair.

"In a couple of months I'll have hair again — some other people cannot do it."
   
Mourinho said he "asked Fernando to give me his machine and I did it myself in front of the mirror — i's nice and cheap."

Basel must match Schalke's result against Steaua on Tuesday and then beat the Germans next month to qualify for the last 16 and Mourinho hopes the strain of having no margin for error will prove too much for the Swiss side, who claimed a shock win at the Bridge earlier in the season.

"They are under pressure and we are not," Mourinho said.
   
"We can finish the job to qualify and Basel, even if they win tomorrow, have to play a last final at Gelsenkirchen."
   
For Basel, the situation is difficult," he said.

"This shows clearly that, after the first match, we did our job and they didn't do theirs.

"This Chelsea is better than the Chelsea that played at Stamford Bridge.

"Hopefully we can continue the good run we've had in the Champions League and finish the job."
   
Torres is fit to return after missing the last three matches due to injury, but defender David Luiz did not travel to Switzerland after suffering a knee problem.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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