Stade Lausanne-Ouchy v Winterthur (Challenge League)
We kick the Swiss football weekend off in the Challenge League where Stade Lausanne-Ouchy continue to quietly chip away at the teams around them in the Swiss second tier and they maintained their position in the top half of the table by breaking Schaffhausen’s fourteen-match unbeaten streak at home in midweek. Their hopes of the promotion play-off are slight, they are six points behind, but they are unbeaten in their last four and will be confident that they can keep closing that gap.
A victory over second-placed Winterthur would be a significant step towards doing just that, but the visitors represent one of the sternest tests in the league. Winti have won three of their last four and saw off stubborn Yverdon by a comfortable 2-0 scoreline at the Schutzenwiese in their last match.
These two sides possess some of the best attacking players in the league, and they will be on show on Friday night at the Pontaise. Brighton Labeau, SLO’s French striker, has scored 12 goals in 22 appearances this season and is joint-second for goals this season while Winterthur have a whole host of dangermen in Roman Buess (8 goals), Roberto Alves (8 goals) and Neftali Manzambi (7 goals).
SLO have scored two goals in each of their last four matches while Winterthur have scored eleven in their last four and also conceded eight. This should be an entertaining match with both teams able to score.
Neuchatel Xamax v Vaduz (Challenge League)
With their 2-1 win away to FC Thun on Tuesday extending their unbeaten run in the Challenge League to five matches, Neuchatel Xamax have made a late surge for the promotion play-off spot. The victory at the Stockhorn Arena was their first win on the road since November and the confidence is flowing ahead of the visit of Vaduz to the Stade de la Maladiere.
Vaduz are struggling to adjust to life after the departure of manager Mario Frick to Super League side Luzern in December. Frick had taken Vaduz back to the Super League at the end of the 2019/20 season against the odds and was keeping them firmly entrenched in the promotion battle before his departure. Since then, the principality club have won only one of their last six matches and are in danger of letting Winterthur slip out of their sight.
Despite their contrasting form lately, these two teams do share a common bond: scoring and conceding goals. Xamax haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last nine matches at home with nineteen goals in their last six matches alone, while Vaduz have had their defence breached on their last six trips away from the Rheinpark with a staggering twenty-six goals overall in those matches. Over 2.5 goals has also landed in four of the last five for both teams.
In the league’s top goalscorer Simone Rapp (13 goals) and Tunahan Cicek (7 goals), Vaduz do have players to hurt a leaky Xamax backline. By the same token, Xamax can call upon veteran Raphael Nuzzolo (6 goals) and promising youngster Franck Surdez. It is the perfect storm for goals at the Maladiere on Friday.
Aarau v Schaffhausen (Challenge League)
FC Aarau took a major step towards a return to the Super League with their 2-0 victory over promotion rivals Vaduz. That result leaves them nine points ahead of third and maintains their five-point gap over second-placed Winterthur. They are now unbeaten in five Challenge League matches in a row for the first time since 2018, and have made it ten matches unbeaten overall for the first time since 2019.
The visitors on Friday evening, FC Schaffhausen, have shown two very different sides of themselves in their last few matches. They are strong at home, where their three wins in the last five have all come, but much more disappointing on their travels. They’ve scored only two wins in their last eleven games and conceded more than a goal per match in their last five away games in a row.
Aarau have already beaten Schaffhausen at Brugglifeld this season and with the form they are in this season, and their impressive efficiency at home – they have won five of their last six matches, all by just one or two goals and have conceded only two in that time, I expect them to continue that run this weekend and pick up another important three points.
BSC Young Boys v Luzern (Super League)
It was a night to forget for YB in Geneva on Tuesday evening as they were defeated by an early goal away to Servette, leaving them trailing Zurich by thirteen points in second. It was a familiar feeling for the champions as they found the Genevan side to be their kryptonite once again on domestic duty as they dropped points against them for the eighth time in eleven matches, also bring an end to their eight-match unbeaten run ahead of this fixture. YB have now lost 21 out of a possible 33 points up for grabs against SFC in the last two seasons.
Luzern are the visitors in Bern and while YB may be happy to see different opposition, they will face a tricky test against a side that has been much improved in recent weeks.
Given their strong home form in the league over the past four seasons, YB are clear favourites in this match and there is little value to be found there. Instead, I would focus on Both Teams to Score. YB are much less reliable defensively this season and have conceded in their last five games in a row. Luzern are back scoring regularly too, netting in five of their last six matches in all competitions and scoring a total of four goals against YB in the two previous meetings this season, including a 1-1 draw in Bern back in October.
Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.44 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Lausanne v Zurich (Super League)
The tale of the tape couldn’t be much different for the sides that sit at the very top and the very bottom of the Super League table. FC Zurich made another big step towards the championship as they moved thirteen points clear in midweek while Lausanne were beaten by Sion and trail by six points in the automatic relegation spot.
With twenty-five shots in their 2-0 win over Luzern on Wednesday, Zurich continue to silence the doubters in impressive fashion. Assan Ceesay made it fourteen goals for the season with the opener in that match and continues to be a revelation this season under the former Hannover coach Andre Breitenreiter. The German took over a team that finished eighth last season and has transformed them, with very few additions, into a side on the edge of claiming their first league title since 2009.
Zurich have barely faltered in the Super League since their last loss back in late September, some sixteen games ago, and are negotiating every possible banana skin with ease. Against a Lausanne side that have lost their last nine in all competitions and are winless in their last eleven, Zurich are more than strong enough to repeat the comfortable victory they achieved at the Tuliere back in early December
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