St. Gallen v Grasshoppers
St. Gallen’s winless run in the Super League stretched to a seventh straight game after their 1-0 loss away to Winterthur last Sunday and when they take to the pitch for Round 15 it will be two months and one day since they last tasted any victory. After such a promising start, there is little doubt that FCSG have stalled under Peter Zeidler. That being said, this is a club that has stuck by its manager in the past and will do so again. The visit of a Grasshoppers side that has only one win in seven and leaks just as many goals as the hosts will provide a good opportunity for FCSG to turn around their fortunes.
Grasshoppers just don’t do boring, regardless of the outcome of the match. In that sole victory in their last seven, they won 4-1 in the derby against Zurich and all but one of the other six winless games have featured Both Teams to Score or Over 2.5 Goals. Their own hopes of a turnaround in fortunes after that win over their rivals FCZ were dashed in a home loss to Luzern, a match that was, disappointingly, all too comfortable for the visiting side.
These two teams score and concede a lot of goals. St. Gallen have scored 21 and conceded 21 in just 14 games while GC are even more lethal with 26 goals scored but also more porous too with 28 goals conceded. Each side only has one clean sheet to their name so far this season too and I don’t see either of them adding to that tally here on current form. I predict Both Teams to Score at Kybunpark.
FC Luzern v Winterthur
FC Luzern welcome Winterthur to this part of Switzerland in a league match for the first time since 2005 as they look to continue a run of good form that has propelled them up to third place in the Super League. The pair of 3-1 wins over Lugano and Grasshoppers in the last two weeks were very much welcome considering it was their first in the league since the 6-0 victory at Winterthur back in mid-September. Overall though, it has been a good first half of the season for FCL with their position in the European spots a far cry from the relegation battle they found themselves in for all of the 21/22 campaign.
Back in September, Winterthur would’ve shuddered at the very mention of Luzern’s name. That historic 6-0 loss, their heaviest in the top-flight at home, was their eighth straight winless game since the start of their return season at this level. It is fair to say, even at that point, Winti looked out of their depth. All of that makes the transformation under Bruno Berner even more remarkable and they have now taken five wins, drawn one and lost one in seven. It is a fantastic turnaround for a team that were conceding multiple goals in every game prior.
Three of those wins for Winti did come at home, so there are still questions about them on the road. The 3-1 loss to a Basel side that hadn’t exactly been free-scoring in their last away match is evidence that they don’t quite have the same defensive stability away from the Schutzenwiese.
Luzern’s last two games at the Swissporarena have had ten goals in them while Winterthur have found a scoring touch but still look leaky on their travels. As a result, I think we’ll see an exciting game. It won’t quite be as one-sided as the 6-0 in September but there can be plenty of goals again.
Servette v Young Boys
A top-of-the-table clash in Geneva with second-placed Servette playing host to league leaders Young Boys from the capital. While there is no surprise to see YB back at the top of the league in Swiss football, Servette FC chasing their tail in second is something that not many would’ve seen coming. A fascinating game awaits with SFC unbeaten in five and YB having not lost any of their last seven.
Despite his critics, Alain Geiger has assembled a spirited and determined squad in 22/23. It is those qualities that has made them hard to beat, losing only two games this season, both away from their home stadium. Much like it was when they returned to the top flight in 2019, SFC are making the Stade de Geneve a fortress again. Their last loss there was back on April 30th, although they’d like to win more games there having drawn the last three played on the shores of Lake Geneva.
YB bounced back from a disappointing home draw against Sion to brush aside Basel and take a commanding seven-point lead at the top. They are already looking like a team that will be difficult to catch and SFC really must win to prevent YB from pulling away ahead of the World Cup. Raphael Wicky’s side have been winning away from Bern, but they look vulnerable at the back having conceded in four of their last five away games.
This should be quite an open contest. SFC need to pick up a win to close the gap on YB while the leaders are always attack-minded. There won’t be much between these two in the end and with Servette also conceding in four of their last five at home, I think we’ll get goals for both sides.
Basel v Sion
FC Basel faced a long trip back from the Armenian capital of Yerevan after their 2-1 triumph over Pyunik on Thursday. It was a happy trip though as the result confirmed their qualification to the next round of the UEFA Europa Conference League after a Group Stage journey that was made far more difficult than it needed to be. The games continue to come thick and fast before the World Cup break and FCB are back in action with the visit of Sion on Sunday. The jubilation of Thursday aside, Basel and Alexander Frei really must start finding some consistency in the league after a disappointing 3-1 loss at Young Boys continued a run that has brought only one win since October 1st.
Sion fell foul of VAR on multiple occasions in their narrow 1-0 loss to Zurich last weekend. That loss brings a third winless game in a row, but there is still plenty to be positive about for Sion this season as they continue to look like a much more threatening attacking side that is well in the hunt for European football too. FCS haven’t won in Basel in the league since 1997 but if ever there was a time to break that duck, it seems like it could be now.
The visitors did beat Basel at the Tourbillon in September and will trouble a flimsy FCB defence again at St. Jakob-Park. Much like against YB in Bern last month though, I can’t see Basel not being able to bite back. The last four in a row in Basel have ended with BTTS and I think it will happen again here too.
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