FC Thun v Lausanne
FC Thun and Lausanne will meet in competitive action for the first time in over four years at the Stockhorn Arena on Friday evening with the two being like ships in the night since that last meeting in May 2018. Lausanne were relegated at the end of that season, spent two years in the Challenge League and finally returned to the Super League just as FC Thun were relegated themselves. Lausanne’s relegation last season has allowed the two to reconvene in Switzerland’s second tier at last.
That being said, Thun would’ve probably hoped they would’ve been out of the Challenge League by now, and given the poor start they’ve made to their third season in this division, they don’t look like getting out anytime soon. It was a familiar story for FCT in their last match as they found the net against FC Wil before settling for a draw that makes it just one victory from their opening six games, something they haven’t done at this level since 1998.
Lausanne are top of the table by a single goal ahead of FC Wil. That they find themselves in that position is entirely unsurprising as they boast the strongest squad in the league. Five-goal Brighton Lebeau was at it again in their 3-1 win over Vaduz at the Tulliere in their last match, scoring a brace to seal the victory over the principality outfit.
The visitors are in a confident mood and in good goalscoring form over the last few weeks. They have the tools to really hurt a leaky Thun defence that is yet to keep a clean sheet and for those reasons I think Ludovic Magnin’s side can avoid defeat in Bern.
Stade Lausanne-Ouchy v Neuchâtel Xamax
Stade Lausanne-Ouchy return to the Pontaise after a mini-break at their spiritual home of the Juan-Antonio Samaranch over the last few games. It has been a mixed bag for the season to date, failing to put together two wins in a row, but also only losing two of their six games. It can also be said with certainty that their games have been some of the most entertaining, illustrated best by the enthralling 3-3 draw with Aarau at Brugglifeld last Saturday afternoon. SLO led twice in that match only to be pegged back on both occasions from the penalty spot.
Neuchatel Xamax couldn’t have had a worse start to their campaign. In truth, their season hasn’t really got started, they sit bottom of the table with zero points after suffering six consecutive defeats. Xamax enjoyed a break from reality in cup action in their 5-1 win over lower league Audax-Friul two weeks ago only to be brought quickly back down to earth with a 3-1 defeat to Bellinzona. Given the manner of the defeat and that their opponents are newly-promoted, this was clearly the watershed moment for Xamax.
Andrea Binotto was given his marching orders after a year-and-a-half in the job and was replaced by the experienced Jeff Saibene. He managed most recently in his native Luxembourg but had notable spells in Switzerland as a player and manager at clubs like St. Gallen and Thun.
It is widely expected that Saibene will improve this Xamax side and eventually lift them out of their rut. They have conceded the most league goals though and that will take time to fix, especially with five-goal Teddy Okou in form for the hosts. SLO aren’t exactly watertight either and I expect there to be goals in a game that should also see an improvement from Xamax.
Aarau v FC Wil
With sixteen goals scored across four games, matches between Aarau and FC Wil last season were entertaining encounters, to say the least. The two will go head-to-head for the first time in the 22/23 campaign at Brugglifeld on Saturday and, given the good form of both teams, and that they have suffered only one defeat each, it promises to be another action-packed match this time around too.
Aarau have displayed the best and worst of their game over the last three matches. They were held to a 2-2 draw by Thun, steamrolled Bellinzona away from home in a 4-0 triumph and then had to come from behind twice to salvage a point at home against Stade Lausanne-Ouchy last weekend. Scoring hasn’t been an issue, eight-goal Shkelqim Vladi leads both the club and league scoring charts, but they’ve been unable to keep the goals out either.
FC Wil continue to turn heads with their early-season performances. They are unexpectedly second in the table after six games, only one goal behind leaders Lausanne, and took their unbeaten run to four with a 1-1 draw with Thun at home last weekend. FCW aren’t quite as leaky as last season’s team, but goals are starting to creep in for the opposition again after failing to keep clean sheets against both Thun and Yverdon in their last two.
The visitors are almost certain to be breached here, they still have only two clean sheets in their last fifty-three away matches in this division, one of those coming against SC Kriens, a side with the lowest points tally for years, and they are facing a side that has scored the second-highest number of goals. FC Wil can hit back though so I expect the goals to flow here.
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