Much like other European football leagues, Switzerland’s domestic soccer season is coming to a conclusion in the upcoming weeks. The title might have already been awarded but the penultimate matchday sees a top of the table clash between the Champions-elect, FC Basel and second placed ‘Berner Sports Club Young Boys’.
FC Basel is one of Switzerland’s most decorated football clubs. In their history, they’ve won nineteen league titles with the last seven coming in successive sequence. This makes Juventus’ five titles in-a-row slightly less impressive, right? Masters of their domestic league, Basel also play regular Champions League football and show the rest of Europe how they’ve won seven league titles in a row.
They famously reached the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League in the 2011/12 and 14/15 seasons; in the process defeating Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. Due to the Swiss Super League’s humdrum status in world football, players of considerable talent often move on to more exotic leagues for one reason or another. Be it fame through media exposure, more lavish climates to play in or more lucrative contracts. Altogether convincing players to stay in the Swiss Super League can be a challenging affair.
Basel, however, found a way of regenerating their squad with the flux of outgoing players, an incredible academy that produces top class players. Notable products of Basel’s youth system are Premier League medal winner: Gökhan İnler, Borussia Dortmund legend: Alexander Frei and contemporary La Liga winner: Ivan Rakitić. This setup has also produced present day Swiss internationals Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka.
Just a short trip along the Southbound A1 motorway from Basel, you’ll soon find yourself at Stade de Suisse, the home of BSC Young Boys. Despite being the de facto capital of Switzerland, Bern’s football club have had to get used to being second-best to Basel. The team historically enjoyed success in the league having won the competition eleven times, but has not done so since the 1980s.
Unlike their counterparts, Young Boys have yet to play in the Champions League group stage but often participate in the Europa League. Their best performances in the said competition were back in the 2010/11 and 14/15 seasons where they reached the round of thirty-two on both occasions. The latter season saw the Young Boys play Everton over two legs, where they lost 7-2 on aggregate (but gave a spirited exertion, nonetheless).
In the context of the league standings, the game actually means very little. FC Basel’s squad has been crowned champions already and BSC Young Boys cannot finish in any other position than second. There is, however, pride and bragging rights to play for. The Bern team are a proud squad and usually, give FC Basel a hostile reception; as they’ve defeated them at home in three of the last four games at Stade de Suisse. It’ll be this home advantage they’ll try to play on and deny Basel from winning at their ground.
The hosts come into this game with a good run of form having won six of their last seven games, scoring twenty-four games throughout. Basel whilst the Champions come into this game with just one win in their last three. Last weekend they were thumped 4-0 by Luzern; only their fourth loss of the campaign.
So what will transpire when the two meet this Sunday? First of all, there’s almost a promise of goals. Both teams have prolific strikers which have spearheaded their attack this season. The Champions line up with Marc Janko at the front. The veteran Austrian has been in fine form with Basel scoring sixteen goals in just twenty games. Not surprising that national head coach Marcell Koller named him in his provisional squad to go the European Championships this summer. There’s also a striker with exactly the same season statistics lining up for Young Boys, former French international, Guillaume Hoarau. He too has sixteen goals in twenty appearances for his side, showing that Young Boys despite being several points below Basel still have quality in their side. Potential sub-plot here for the strikers to battle it out; vying over who’s going to have scored more goals by the end of the season. It’s also noteworthy that both teams have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five games.
Prediction: High scoring game, Young Boys win. Worth a punt: Young Boys last six goals in the last two games have all come in the second half.
Fancy a bet with us at Betfect on the game? Here’s some selected markets worth considering:
(Odds correct at time of writing, subject to change)
Both teams to score (yes), 2/5
Both teams to score and Young Boys to win, 21/10
The first goal to be scored in the second half, 10/3
BSC Young Boys to win 4-2, 28/1
BSC Young Boys to win by two goals, 5/1
(Images Sourced from Wikipedia, Sportalsports and Sina English.)