Swiss Super League Round 25 Preview: Relegation battle opens up

Swiss Super League R25
(Nischal’s Blog/freshfocus)

The Swiss Super League returned after 117 days, and in what style.

Round 24 saw 16 goals scored in the five games, as every Super League club returned to action with a goal. Narrow yet deserved victories for St. Gallen and Young Boys kept the title race alive and kicking, while Neuchâtel Xamax sealed a huge win in the fight for survival.

There are still scores to settle across the entire league. The top two are separated by a goal difference of five, FC Basel and Servette are battling for a Europa League spot and Sion are now well and truly in the relegation battle. It will be another crucial round of fixtures in Switzerland, where every team will be vying for points.

Ahead of the first midweek matchday since September, this is your full lowdown for round 25 of the Swiss Super League.


FC Thun vs BSC Young Boys

FCT-YB
(Nischal’s Blog)

Tuesday 23rd June, 20:30 CEST

Stockhorn Arena, Thun


Rooted to the bottom of the table after a devastating defeat to Neuchâtel Xamax, Thun could not face champions Young Boys at a worse time. An 86th minute penalty condemned Marc Schneider’s side in cruel fashion, as they now sit four points off safety and the worst home record in the division.

YB were clear favourites to win their opening match against FC Zürich, but they needed a late brace from top scorer Jean-Pierre Nsame to see out the victory. A dramatic 3-2 win was enough for the three points, but they will need to be tighter at the back and cautious of Thun’s Ridge Munsy, who has scored in four straight games.

Thun will need a miracle to beat the defending champions, though anything is possible in Swiss football. The spirits going into Tuesday’s clash would have been higher had they won their relegation clash last weekend, but confidence will be at an all-time low as YB should make it back-to-back wins at the Stockhorn Arena.

Prediction: FC Thun 1-3 BSC Young Boys


Neuchâtel Xamax vs FC Basel

XAM-FCB
(Nischal’s Blog)

Wednesday 24th June, 18:15 CEST

Stade de la Maladière, Neuchâtel


A heartbreaking defeat for Thun was a massive result for Neuchâtel Xamax, as they made it three unbeaten. The experienced additions of Johan Djourou and Xavier Kouassi proved decisive, with goals from Samir Ramizi and Raphaël Nuzzolo earning a 2-1 win at the Maladière.

This would be a routine trip for FC Basel, but their unpredictable form struck again last week. Despite playing a week before any other Super League side, they fell victim to bogey side FC Luzern in a 2-1 defeat at the Swissporarena. FCB now have just one win in seven games, a run of form which could cost them European football next season.

If they want to earn a Europa League qualifying place, Basel need to get their act together. Xamax will be full of confidence and belief as they look to make it four games unbeaten, and given Basel’s form this season, it does not seem far-fetched for the hosts to get something from this game.

Prediction: Neuchâtel Xamax 2-2 FC Basel


FC Lugano vs FC Luzern

LUG-LUZ
(Nischal’s Blog)

Wednesday 24th June, 20:30 CEST

Stadio Cornaredo, Lugano


Lugano are back at the Cornaredo on Wednesday, as they find themselves stuck in no man’s land. Eight points from the bottom suggests they are unlikely to go down, but 13 points clear of the European spots is enough to know that they will not be back on the continental stage next season.

Luzern looked doomed for their return, having lost 3-0 and 5-0 in two of their recent friendlies. But Fabio Celestini’s men came away with an impressive win over Basel, winning 2-1 with goals from Francesco Margiotta and Blessing Eleke. Unbeaten in seven, FCL are on a roll.

The numbers are not in Lugano’s favour, who have scored just six goals at home all season. But they have won three of the last four meetings with Luzern, and while the visitors are in brilliant form, it will be a tough ask when they make the trip to Ticino.

Prediction: FC Lugano 1-1 FC Luzern


FC Sion vs Servette FC

SIO-SER
(Nischal’s Blog)

Wednesday 24th June, 20:30 CEST

Stade Tourbillon, Sion


Sion continued their dreadful form when the season returned, now without a win in eight games. The loss of nine sacked players during the coronavirus pandemic did not help the Valais club’s case, but they now look even more prone to relegation as Xamax sit just one point short of them.

While a 1-1 draw with Lugano was not the result they necessarily hoped for, Servette are now just two points off Basel in third. Their solid defence has been a real driving force for their success this season, and they look poised to break into the top three and secure European football for next season.

Sion may well find themselves in the relegation play-off spot by the end of the week, facing another difficult challenge at the Tourbillon. Servette should continue their strong form and earn another impressive result, coming in as favourites to take all three points in this clash.

Prediction: FC Sion 0-2 Servette FC


St. Gallen vs FC Zürich

STG-FCZ
(Nischal’s Blog)

Thursday 25th June, 20:30 CEST

Kybunpark, St. Gallen


St. Gallen are back at the Kybunpark for the first time in four months, as they host FC Zürich in the final game of round 25. The league leaders ended the week where they began, as a brace from Cedric Itten sealed a 2-1 victory over Sion and a fourth away win in five.

On the other hand, Zürich will consider themselves unlucky not to have kicked off with a win. They led at Young Boys for over half (56%) the game, yet found themselves beaten by a late flurry of goals in unfortunate circumstances. They have not won any of their last six games, now trapped mid table.

Nevertheless, FCZ are still a threat and can perform against the big boys – something their opponents learnt last week. St. Gallen got off to a great start and will be strong favourites to win, especially with YB playing two days earlier. The title race is underway once again, and it is sure to continue in style.

Prediction: St. Gallen 4-1 FC Zürich

St. Gallen
(FC St. Gallen)

READ MORE

Read more of my Swiss football articles here

Interview: Speaking to Ramon Vega

Football and politics must not be separated, now more than ever

EURO 96 Part Three: Remembering Switzerland’s debut on the European stage


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