Lugano v Basel
There won’t have been many that would’ve predicted Lugano and FC Basel to be neck-and-neck in the race for third place in the Super League at this stage of the season, but that is the scenario that both find themselves in as the Cornaredo plays host to a pivotal match between the two teams on Sunday afternoon.
It was another frustrating night for Basel in their 2-2 home draw with St. Gallen on Thursday. They had started well in the match, but the counter-attacking play of the visitors had them trailing by two goals after just twenty-two minutes and the twenty-times Swiss champion looked short of ideas and confidence. There has to be a fair share of credit then for caretaker manager Guillermo Abascal, picking up the pieces after the sacking of Patrick Rahmen, as the Spanish coach was able to motivate a much better response from his team in the second half. It was encouraging for the FCB fans to see such a spirited performance and comeback with Fedor Chalov scoring his first two goals to earn a point, the first time that FCB had come from two goals down at the break at home since 2011.
The result did open the door for Lugano as they secured victory away to Grasshoppers to close within two points of Basel. The Ticino side have a strong record at home in the Super League and are unbeaten in their last four at the Cornaredo against FCB, so they will fancy their chances that they can leapfrog their visitors into second.
This should be a close match with both teams eager to take advantage in the race for third. It’ll be interesting to see how FCB approach the match with a European tie against Marseille in midweek, but they can ill-afford to finish outside the European spots this season. Lugano will make this tricky and they have Basel’s number lately at home, but I expect both teams to score in a tight match.
Grasshoppers v Servette
Grasshoppers welcome Servette to the Letzigrund in one of the two late afternoon matches in the Super League and the Zurich club will be beginning to look nervously over their shoulder at the relegation zone after recent results.
Despite their 2-1 home defeat against Lugano on Thursday, GC have managed to maintain the nine-point gap over Luzern in ninth after the other result went in their favour, but the record Swiss champions will need to bounce back soon after just one win in their last eight matches. Encouragingly though, GC have shown in their first season back in the Super League that they are capable of big results, including their comeback 2-2 draw with Young Boys just a few weeks ago.
Speaking of Young Boys, Servette FC proved once again to be kryptonite for the Bern club, striking early and earning a deserved 1-0 victory in Geneva. It continues the narrative of an up-and-down season for an SFC side that had failed to win in their last three games. With only five points separating themselves in fifth and Grasshoppers in eighth, their visit to the Letzigrund represents a good opportunity to get back on track in regards to a top-half finish this season.
Neither of these two have been able to find consistent form as of late and this makes for an unpredictable contest on Sunday. In this case, it is better to focus on goals, with GC scoring in 10 out of 12 home matches and conceding in them all, while Servette have scored and conceded in 10 of their 12 away matches. Grasshoppers can also call on Kaly Sene (9 goals) to aid their cause while Servette will rely on Kastriot Imeri (8 goals), as well as Bosnian international Miroslav Stevanovic, who has directly contributed to 55% of Servette’s goals this season.
St. Gallen v Sion
St. Gallen are making a late push for a top-half finish in the Super League and the oldest football club in Switzerland also have an outside chance of European football next season. To emphasize the remarkable turnaround since the winter break for FCSG: they had just four wins and sixteen points from their opening eighteen games, and have equalled that number of wins and scored fourteen points from just six games after the winter break.
While the home side are flying, the visitors to kybunpark, FC Sion, have been in less impressive form and would’ve been glad to have ended their four-game winless run midweek with their 1-0 victory over Lausanne at the Tourbillon. Sion have fallen one point behind their resurgent opponents over the last few rounds and will welcome the opportunity to take back fifth place, something they may be confident about having not lost to St. Gallen in five matches.
FCSG have comfortably beaten teams at both ends of the table since the winter break and have been impressive in their two matches against opposition inside the top three, YB and FC Basel, to earn draws. They have scored more goals than anyone else in the last five matches and are second only to league leaders FC Zurich in the form table. Kwadwo Duah added to his goals tally against Basel and continues to be a sharpshooter surrounded by a supporting cast including Jeremy Guillemenot and Elie Youan. With Sion in inconsistent form and having lost four of their last five away, it is hard to see anything but St. Gallen picking up three points here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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