Lichtsteiner left out of Switzerland squad for October fixtures

Article Lichtsteiner

UPDATE, 8 OCTOBER 2018: There have been two changes to the squad since its original release two days ago. As per the SFV Twitter account, Renato Steffen of Wolfsburg and David Von Balmoos of BSC Young Boys have come in for Breel Embolo of Schalke and Roman Bürki of Borussia Dortmund respectively.

Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner has been left out of the Switzerland squad as Vladimir Petković named his 23-man squad for this month’s fixtures.

The 34 year-old will not feature at all in the games against Belgium and Iceland, after playing in last month’s friendly against England but not in the inaugural Nations League match against Iceland. According to the Schweizer Fussballverband website, Petković had agreed with Lichtsteiner to renounce him from this month’s squad.

Article Squad list
The 23 man squad named for the two October fixtures. (SFV)

Lichtsteiner was the captain for the duration of this summer’s World Cup, only missing the Round of 16 match against Sweden due to suspension. He moved to Arsenal on a free transfer this summer, after calling time on his seven-year career at Juventus. However, Lichtsteiner has spent most of his time on the bench, only featuring four times this season for the Gunners.

In the absence of Stephan Lichtsteiner, it is most likely that Granit Xhaka will be the captain for both games. The 26 year-old wore the captain’s armband against Iceland, which was a big deal after the comments from former Swiss international Stéphane Henchoz. He is one of the favourites to become the new Swiss captain when Lichtsteiner’s international career ends.

Article Xhaka
Granit Xhaka with the captain’s armband from last month’s win against Iceland. (Blick)

 

The latest squad sees Roman Bürki, Nico Elvedi and Michael Lang return to the team, after they were all injured. On the other hand, there are four players who have lost their spot since September. Johan Djourou, Kevin Mbabu and Admir Mehmedi join Stephan Lichtsteiner in being emitted from the national team squad.

There are two main additions to the latest Swiss squad. BSC Young Boys’ Christian Fassnacht has earned his first call-up to the Schweizer Nati, after five goals in eleven appearances so far this season. The 24 year-old’s debut is long overdue, after an impressive season last year saw him help YB to their first league title in 32 years.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 16.44.36.png
Christian Fassnacht celebrating his goal in YB’s Champions League play-off.

In addition to Fassnacht, 24 year-old Florent Hadergjonaj has been named in the squad for the first time since June 2017. The Huddersfield Town right back comes into the squad in spite of Kevin Mbabu’s injury and Stephan Lichtsteiner’s absence, but he is likely to be on the bench with the return of Michael Lang.

Switzerland return to Nations League action after the perfect start, where they thrashed Iceland 6-0 in St. Gallen. They sit top of the table on goal difference, level on points with Belgium after they beat Iceland 3-0 in Reykjavik.

The squad has been named for Switzerland’s two Nations League fixtures, where they will travel to Brussels and Reykjavik to face Belgium and Iceland respectively. They will first play the Red Devils at the King Baudouin Stadium on 12 October, before flying North to the Icelandic capital to play three days later.

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