BSC Young Boys’ dominance confirmed as they smash Basel 7-1

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BSC Young Boys made a huge statement today as they demolished previous kings of Switzerland FC Basel 7-1 at the Stade de Suisse.

A dominant performance from Young Boys (YB) showed us exactly why they are the champions of Switzerland, and confirmed that the golden days of Basel are a thing of the past. Goals from Fassnacht, Sulejmani, Camara, Hoarau, Aebischer, Bertone and Assalé sealed an astounding win for YB in Bern, as they maintain their 100% start to the domestic season.

I knew of the current dominance of YB in Switzerland. When I saw them play Luzern last month in my annual trip back to Switzerland, I could see why they were the best in the land. However, I wanted to wait to see them play Basel, the previous champions, and see how they would fare against them.

When I saw the final result come in as 7-1, I knew this meant one thing: YB are well and truly the new kings of Switzerland. To be honest, we had known this for months. An emphatic title win last season, qualification for the Champions League group stage for the first time in their 120-year history and a 100% record in the league this season proved to us that the Swiss football crown had certainly left Basel.

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A photo to remember, with the scoreboard at full-time telling the story of the game. (BSC Young Boys)

My first ever football game was at FC Basel in 2011, back when they were the best team in Switzerland. They had just won back-to-back league titles, an achievement in any league in any sport around the world. The RotBlau would go on to win an astonishing six league titles in a row, making it EIGHT consecutive Super League titles.

I never thought their domestic dominance would stop. I remember even suggesting on Twitter that they should take inspiration from then Super League club FC Vaduz of Lichtenstein, and play their football in Germany to make the Swiss Super League more competitive. So when BSC Young Boys of Bern, or YB for short, won their first league title in 32 years last May, it was a real shock.

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YB celebrating their first league title in 32 years, May 2018. (BSC Young Boys)

In my whole lifetime, there had only been three different Swiss football champions (Basel, Zürich and Grasshopper Club Zürich). In the time that I have been watching football alone, only Basel had won the league; that’s how dominant they were.

Basel’s fall from grace is quite something. After winning a historic 20th league title in 2017, they faltered throughout the 2017/18 campaign and failed to win the league for the first time since 2009. This continued into the new season, where they were knocked out of the Champions League second qualifying round by Greek side PAOK. It got even worse, when demotion to the Europa League qualifying rounds saw them knocked out at the play-off stage by Apollon Limassol of Cyprus. This meant that FC Basel would be without European football (group stage level) for the first time in 17 years.

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The scene from the YB ultras as the players walked onto the pitch today. (BSC Young Boys)

A managerial change from Raphaël Wicky to Marcel Koller seemed to have done the trick for Basel, as they recorded back-to-back league wins beating Grasshopper Club Zürich and Sion. However, that has all been forgotten after an embarrassment in Bern.

So, now what? Well, it is clear that the Swiss title will be staying in Bern for another year, if not another ten. YB are top of the table, having won seven games from seven scoring on average nearly four goals per game. It is only mid-September, yet they are ten points clear of second place Thun, and look destined to retain the title. This is alongside their maiden campaign in the Champions League group stage, where despite a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United in their first game, they look like they could do something.

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The Swiss Super League table, as of 23 September 2018. (SFL)

In contrast to this, Basel astonishingly sit in 7th place, just three points clear of the relegation places. An inconsistent start to the season is worrying, and there seems to be a lot of uncertainty at St. Jakob Park. With no European football to drown their domestic sorrows, this is going to be a very long season for the RotBlau.

This is an intriguing new era in Swiss football. Gone are the days of Basel being the undisputed pride of Switzerland, winning everything every year to the dismay of fans like me, who wanted to see an exciting season with a real title race. Now a new era has dawned on the country, and the trophy’s red and blue ribbons have been packed away for the foreseeable future. The golden trophy adorns new gold and black ribbons, and it looks like they’re not going anywhere else for a while.

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