Interview at the training camp
After a two-year Corona break, FC Basel is back at Tegernsee. Record player Fabian Frei is also happy and takes a look at the upcoming season.
Gmund/Rottach-Egern – After two years of training camp in Switzerland FC Basel returns to the Tegernsee valley and spent the past week training at SF Gmund-Dürnbach and staying at the Parkhotel Egerner Höfe for the ninth time. Basel record player Fabian Frei (33) is one of the regular guests in the region, but came a little later due to the appearances with the Swiss national team. In an interview, he explains why this shouldn’t have any impact on his position under new coach Alex Frei, what goals he has with FC Basel and the national team for the coming season and what the training camp in the region means to him.
Mr. Frei, after two years you were able to return to Tegernsee with FC Basel. Did you miss the ambiance?
Yes, definitely. I love coming here. It’s something else when you’re abroad and things are a little different.
What does the training camp mean to you?
One is abroad but feels at home. The lake is beautiful with the mountains to it. People are very friendly, very accommodating. That’s why we feel so comfortable here.
This also applies to the Egerner Höfe. Did you recognize the hotel after the renovation??
I was “warned” that a lot is different – but expectations were exceeded. It was nice before, but now they’ve upped the ante and haven’t forgotten the family aspect. It’s still the hotel it was, but a bit more stylish nonetheless.
The training location in Gmund is new for you this year. How do you like it there?
The place is great, the facility is wonderful. Unfortunately we have to take the bus now. I liked being in Rottach because we could cycle there.
You could continue to do that, as a kind of warm-up program.
After that I don’t need to train anymore. (laughs)
With Alex Frei there is a new coach on the sidelines. Is it a disadvantage that you came to Gmund a little later?
No, I played with him and know him well. We kept in touch in between and I know exactly what he wants from me.
Do you have an advantage because of the common past?
It’s definitely not a disadvantage. It’s not that I’m preferred, but knowing what makes the coach tick makes it easier for you to judge decisions correctly.
And how does the coach tick?
When he tackles something, he wants us to do it right 100 percent, to be fully committed. It was the same for him as a player. We already had him as interim coach in 2018, I thought he did a really good job.
The season begins on July 16, the last championship was five years ago, and Basel last won the cup in 2019. It’s about time again, isn’t it?
Of course we want the best, if possible win every game. But we have to be careful not to talk about the title again. We were 14 points behind the champions last season, before that we were 31. If we’re up there at the end, I’m very happy about that. Our goal should be to be able to play for the title for as long as possible.
There is a chance to do so in the Europa Conference League, the qualification also begins in July. How do you feel about the competition?
I think he’s cool. It’s similar to the Europa League, which was also laughed at at the beginning. When you see which teams are now in the semi-finals or finals, you realize that the competition has gained in importance. The Conference League is a chance for teams like us to present ourselves internationally.
With 456 games you are a record player for FC Basel. With a contract until 2024, the 500 should be in it.
If I keep the cut, definitely. (laughs) That would be a cool brand, but it always depends on a lot of variables. If I stay healthy, that’s a mark I’d like to reach.
Wild. (laughs) Because it’s kind of unexpected. I didn’t expect that to be an option until the fall. Now it’s a goal.
Opponents would be Brazil, Serbia and Cameroon. A heavy group.
We already had Brazil and Serbia in 2018, they are very good opponents. Cameroon could be a grab bag. If you’re not careful, you’ll lose points and it will be very difficult. Of course, the goal has to be that we qualify for the round of 16. Otherwise we don’t need to go there.
As a player, do you consider not going to Qatar?
You hear the discussions. We are talking to our association and sharing our concerns. But we as players only have a limited influence. If you boycott the tournament as a single player, 20 players are ready to take your place.
The conversation was led by Sebastian Schuch.