Winterthur v FC Thun (Challenge League)
Winterthur came from behind last Friday evening to earn a 1-1 draw at the Schutzenwiese against promotion rivals Schaffhausen and maintain their one-point lead at the top of the table. The remit before the game was simply “do not lose” and if they could manage that, they would remain in control of their Challenge League destiny as we approach the final hurdle. However, with just that one point difference between their goal of title-winning promotion and the less fancied promotion play-off, they must avoid any slip-ups in the final four games.
Thun have had a busy week, they were emphatic 3-0 victors against Vaduz before announcing on Wednesday that they would be “seeking a new direction next season” and parting company with coach Carlos Bernegger. In the meantime, they’ll be hoping their away form can also move in a different direction after defeats to Stade Lausanne-Ouchy and Neuchatel Xamax.
Winterthur are unbeaten in their last seven games, winning six matches in a row at home before Schaffhausen came to town last week. Against a Thun side that have lost six of their last ten away, and that they’ve beaten in all three previous meetings this season, this should be a comfortable victory for Winti to remain in pole position.
FC Vaduz v FC Wil (Challenge League)
It appears that Vaduz may have to settle for another season in the Challenge League after their damaging 3-0 defeat to Thun that leaves them six points adrift of second with four games to play. Despite this, they’ll be in a buoyant mood after claiming an 8th consecutive Liechtenstein Cup on Tuesday that brings them to 48 overall. The win maintains their world record for cup wins and also qualifies the principality outfit for the UEFA Europa Conference League.
FC Wil make the trip to the Rheinpark and no doubt they’ll bring the goals with them. The 2-2 draw at home to Yverdon-Sport last time out brings their total goals for and goals against record to a staggering 62 and 67 respectively in the 32 games this season.
My pick is probably of little surprise here. The inconsistent form and fragility of Vaduz can probably be summed up best by the fact that there have been thirty-four goals in their last eight games, six of which have had Over 2.5 Goals in them. The three previous encounters between these two in this campaign have had Over 2.5 Goals, including a 4-4 draw in late January, and I expect the goals to flow here again.
Yverdon-Sport v Aarau (Challenge League)
It is often said that the target of “40 points” is the magic number for teams battling relegation and hoping to stay in the top division. Yverdon-Sport finally ticked onto that mark after their 2-2 draw with Winterthur last week but any relegation fears evaporated long ago. The poor form of SC Kriens, who are a staggering twenty-seven points behind, ensured that relegation was a no contest this season. Overall, it has been a good season for an YS side returning to the Swiss second-tier after a decade long absence.
Aarau have found their feet again after dropping points consistently in March and April. Their 3-0 result over Neuchatel last Friday allowed them to move level on points in the play-off spot with Schaffausen and also move only one point behind Winterthur in the automatic promotion place. Dreams of ascending to the top-flight, which looked to be slipping away last month, are well within sight again.
YS have built much of the solid foundations for their 40-point campaign thus far at home. They have picked up twenty-five points at the Municipal compared to just fifteen on the road and they’ll provide a big test for visiting Aarau. Having failed on only three occasions this season, I expect YS to find the net against their visitors who have conceded in seven of their last eight fixtures. Aarau are the highest scorers away from home though and I think they’ll also be able to get themselves on the scoresheet.
Lugano v Young Boys (Super League)
Lugano ended a three-game losing streak after their 1-1 draw vs. Grasshoppers at the Cornaredo on Saturday evening and they will hope the worst of their recent sticky patch is behind them ahead of the final matches of the season. With six points between themselves and YB, third place seems unattainable, but they can also still pip St. Gallen to fifth.
YB are favourites to claim that final European spot after stretching their lead in third after goals from Vincent Sierro and American international Jordan Siebatcheu sealed a 2-1 victory over Sion. The result at the Tourbillon marks two wins in a row for last season’s champions and they’ll be hoping they’ve finally put their worst run of form since 2013 behind them.
Lugano have scored and conceded in five of their last six while YB’s last eight games have ended with both teams scoring. At the Cornaredo, Lugano are more than capable of breaching YB’s shaky backline. 22-goal Jordan Siebatcheu scored four at this venue in December and the in-form striker can hurt Lugano again in current form.
St. Gallen v FC Zurich (Super League)
St. Gallen have ensured their 3-2 loss to Luzern in mid-April, their only loss in the sixteen games played since they returned from the winter break, was nothing more than a minor blip. FCSG proceeded to win their next three games, including a Swiss Cup semi-final, and they haven’t conceded a single goal in that time either. While it is unlikely that they will catch YB in the final European spot, they have moved up into fourth and are building momentum towards a cup final that could not only earn them a trophy, but also that ticket to Europe next season.
FC Zurich finally did it. Der Stadtclub capped off what has been an outstanding season with a 2-0 victory at the home of their great rivals FC Basel to claim a first title since 2009 and spark wild celebrations at the Helvetiaplatz in the city on Sunday.
FCSG are on such a roll and will be keen to pull away in fourth. They’ve held Zurich at kybunpark back in August and they also handed them their first loss in seventeen games with their outstanding 3-0 victory at the Letzigrund in March. It is only natural that the new champions will take their foot off the pedal a little with the title now secured and I think St. Gallen, who possesses such an exciting attack, will be able to take something from this game.
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