Swiss Super League

FC Basel v Luzern – Saturday 21 July - St. Jakob-Park, Basel (19:45)

FC Basel v Luzern

Last weekend the Swiss Super League kicked-off with FC Basel looking for their fourth straight league title. This weekend see’s them host last season’s runners-up Luzern who were the only team to give them a creditable challenge early on and led the log until Basel reached peak form. They also made them work hard for their Swiss Cup final victory, with Basel winning on penalty shoot-outs.

FC Basel last season earned their title comfortably compared to other seasons, wrapping up the title with five games to spare. A 3-1 win over FC Lausanne-Sport confirmed their third consecutive championship, with Basel going 26 games without defeat and finishing 20 points ahead of Luzern. FC Basel are one of the most successful clubs in Swiss football, having won the Swiss Super League 15 times. Basel returned to the top of Swiss football in the 2000’s, winning their first title for 22 years in 2002 and another six titles in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012. They have also won 10 Swiss Cups. They lost their coach early on in the season to Hamburg last year and assistant coach Heiko Vogel was made caretaker. His success earned him the job permanently. The 36-year-old took to his first job as coach well and under his guidance Basel quickly went top of the table. Vogel only lost his first home match on after 25 league matches (21 league and four cup). Vogel’s men even made their presence felt on the international stage, ousting Manchester United to qualify for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Alexander Frei proved Basel’s most influential player last season and was named Player of the Year. Several Basel players were candidates, but no-one embodied their successes more than the striker, who scored key goals in the vital games against Luzern and Manchester United. With his set pieces as deadly as ever, he delivered 24 goals and 11 assists in the league, finishing top scorer in Switzerland.

Luzern were the surprise package last season. They had been one of the Super League’s rising teams in previous campaigns, but lacked consistency to perform at that level over a full campaign. However, led by new coach and former FC Basel and Switzerland defender, Murat Yakin, they were able to do so and were rewarded with second place and a spot in the cup final. Getting the better of more celebrated teams such as Young Boys and FC Zurich made their achievement even more remarkable. They were relegated from the Super League in 2002, and earned promotion again in 2006 after winning the First Division (Challenge League) and since have finished in the top half of the log more times than not.

Luzern have found things tough when playing away to Basel only managing three wins in 25 matches, with Basel winning 18 and four matches being drawn. The last league match in which Basel hosted Luzern ended 3-1 in Basel’s favour. Back the home team to prove superior once again.

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