Before Crystal Palace face BSC Young Boys on Saturday, we spoke to Radio Télévision Suisse journalist Christophe Cerf to understand everything you need to know about Palace’s opposition before the clash takes place.
Cerf brought us up to speed on Young Boys’ threats, history and ability as a regular viewer of the Swiss champions. Here’s what he had to say…
How strong are Young Boys for a Swiss club and when did they find their form?
Young Boys is the best team in Switzerland. They won two titles in a row. Two years ago it was a surprise because FC Basel won eight titles in a row and since 2000 Basel was the best team in Switzerland. They played in the Champions League, they won against Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool. They were the big team in Switzerland and Young Boys were always second or third.
In Switzerland, we said Young Boys were serial losers; they never win. Their last title was in 1986 so they waited a lot of time to win again. After, they played in the second division. They came back to the first division but just to be second or third. Basel was bigger, stronger and had a lot of money. Young Boys were always behind.
Suddenly two years ago they won again with 20 points more than Basel and it was the same this season. It was a big surprise because as I said, they never won.
What did they do to start winning again?
They changed some things in the club and spent a lot of money. Christophe Spycher was a Swiss player, he played for Eintracht Frankfurt; he played for the national team. He became Young Boys’ Sport Director. He’s the most important person in the club.
He chooses the players, the manager, he decided for the team to be stronger which player they would take for the next season. He had a lot of ideas and a lot of money but not so much as Basel. Basel is always richer but cannot win against Young Boys because Young Boys work very cleverly.
⚫️⚫️⚫️ PALACE AWAY ⚫️⚫️⚫️ pic.twitter.com/5SSn7d3YA8— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 11, 2019
What is their squad like?
They have players with experience, for example Guillaume Hoarau, the French international who scores a lot. They also have a lot of young, Swiss players who tried to play outside of Switzerland. For example, Kevin Mbabu played for Newcastle United four or five years ago and it was not really good. He came back to Switzerland to Young Boys.
Djibril Sow tried to play in Germany for Borussia Mönchengladbach and after no success, he came back to Switzerland. He was young and he played for Young Boys. Now he is an international player who has a contract with Eintracht Frankfurt. It’s a clever mix between young players who want to show something and players with lots of experience like Hoarau. Now they are a really, very, very clever team. Well organised.
Describe their tactics…
They changed last year from 4-4-2, always, with former coach Adi Hütter. Last year Christophe Spycher decided to take a new coach, Gerardo Seoane, with no experience; just six months in the Swiss league.
In the beginning he decided to play 4-4-2, now it’s normally 4-4-2 but sometimes they play with five in the defence and three in the middle. Normally 4-4-2 with Hoarau and Roger Assalé as the striker, but he is now at the Africa Cup of Nations. On Saturday maybe they will play with Hoarau and Jean-Pierre Nsame.
How well did they play in their 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt?
The team was very strong. In Switzerland after this game against Frankfurt, people said they are already ready to win the title. The team is now as strong as last year and as good as last year. In Switzerland, the championships begin next week. That means Young Boys are not trying to find new players, they are already strong enough to play very well.
What’s your prediction for Saturday?
I think for me, you are in the beginning of your preparation and it’s not the same as Young Boys. This game is one week before their first important game. Young Boys are ready, Crystal Palace maybe not yet. 2-1 to Young Boys I would say.
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