FC Basel v St. Gallen
After a difficult start to life under new manager Alexander Frei, FC Basel appear to have turned a corner having recorded a fourth win in a row in all competitions for the first time since September 2021. After their early season woes, they do still occupy seventh position near the bottom of the Super League table, there are grounds for optimism around St. Jakob-Park.
Since the appointment of Alain Sutter as Sporting Director at St. Gallen in the 18/19 campaign, St. Gallen have followed a clear philosophy that has allowed them to compete with the bigger budgets of clubs like Basel and Young Boys. They challenged for the title in 19/20 and are seeing the fruits of their labour again as they sit third in the thick of the title race ahead of their trip to play FCB. A youthful, exuberant team that has scored plenty of goals, the work being done at the club at kybunpark is to be commended.
The second-highest scoring side in the league, FCSG have a terrific record at St. Jakob-Park with only one defeat and five wins from their last nine visits, and they have plenty of reason to believe they can trouble Basel here. While showing improvement, FCB are still conceding goals, keeping only one clean sheet in six.
St. Gallen only have two clean sheets themselves from their first eight games in the league and shipped two goals to third-tier Etoile Carouge in their 4-2 cup victory before the international break. For those reasons, I think there will be a few goals in this.
Grasshoppers v FC Zurich
The 290th edition of the Zurich derby will take place at the Letzigrund on Saturday with two sides that have defied pre-season predictions in very unexpected ways.
Grasshoppers were a favourite of many to either be automatically relegated or end in the relegation playoff this season. Instead, they are comfortably in mid-table, just five points adrift of top spot and already ten points clear of both relegation positions. That is made all the sweeter by the fact that bitter rivals FC Zurich, who they had to watch end their title drought over the last twelve months, are the team occupying ninth position.
Zurich stopped delaying the inevitable with their dismissal of Franco Foda during the international break. The German was appointed to succeed title-winning Andre Breitenreiter, however, he failed to build on the success of last season, losing six games in a row, including the recent cup defeat to second division side Lausanne, and winning just five of his eighteen games in charge. U21 manager Genesio Colatrella makes the step up on an interim basis and will be tasked with changing their fortunes.
This should be an interesting match. GC have dipped recently with only one league win in five, scoring in every game but conceding in all but one. Despite their form, FCZ have scored in eleven consecutive games, including against Basel, Bodo/Glimt and Arsenal, but defensively they have been very poor and have shipped 18 goals in this time.
In this fixture, the last six matches have had both teams scoring. I think that pattern will stretch to a seventh game here.
Sion v Winterthur
Having diced with the perils of relegation a little too closely over the last few seasons, FC Sion fans will have been delighted with the start to this campaign. With just two defeats in eight games and the high-profile signing of Mario Balotelli too, things are looking rosy in the Valais. A side that is difficult to beat and has picked up four league wins is something to shout about in itself, but it is the nature of the victories that will have been most pleasing. This side is showing grit, grinding out results against Basel and St. Gallen recently and showing little of the fragility that has plagued them in the past.
If Sion are showing all those great qualities, promoted club Winterthur simply are not. The honeymoon period is certainly over for Winti as they find themselves out of their depth in the Super League so far. They have yet to win a league game, have scored only four goals, picked up just two points and suffered heavy home defeats to Young Boys (1-5) and Luzern (0-6), the latter of which was their heaviest top-flight home defeat since 1960. The 23 goals they have conceded is the most after just eight games since the league was reconstructed in 2003.
Sion have won their last three in all competitions and should have little problems seeing off Winterthur at the Tourbillon. It seems unlikely that a Winti side that has yet to score any goals away from home this season will trouble Paolo Tramezzani’s men. I predict a Sion victory.
Luzern v Young Boys
It has been a mixed start to the season for FC Luzern as they sit on the cusp of the top half after seven games. There have been low points, a 4-1 defeat to St. Gallen is one example, but also a recent high that saw them record their largest-ever away league victory against Winterthur as they scored six at the Schutzewiese. With a game in hand on those above, their fans will be content with how things are going ahead of the visit of Young Boys.
Young Boys are still finding their feet under Raphael Wicky and lead the table by virtue of goal difference. In past seasons, YB have been able to slip up and maintain a healthy lead, but their domination came to an end last season, and they are already trying to keep Servette and St. Gallen off their tails after suffering their first defeat of the campaign to FCSG in early September. Before the international break, they recorded a convincing win over struggling Lugano and eliminated Stade Lausanne-Ouchy in the cup.
This fixture opened the 21/22 season in July 2021, an enthralling seven-goal thriller that YB edged in the final minutes. We have been made to wait for it this time around but that game, and recent history, suggests it will be worth it. There has been a minimum of three goals in the last eight meetings in a row and at least four in the last four matches at the Swissporarena between these two. YB are the highest-scoring side in the league by a distance while Luzern have twelve goals to their name. I can’t see anything but another goal frenzy here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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