Having defeated FC Luzern via a penalty shootout on Tuesday night, Crystal Palace are on the cusp of winning the annual Uhrencup with only BSC Young Boys to overcome today in order to be named victors.
Palace currently have three points - the same as YB - and victory must be awarded to one side or the other this afternoon, meaning whoever is victorious at the Stadion Neufeld will be crowned Uhrencup champions.
Should the Eagles manager it, they will set a new tournament precedent as the third consecutive English team to win. Adding to Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ achievements, the English hat-trick will be a previously unmanaged feat.
However, Palace are facing an uphill battle with Young Boys being the most dominant force in Swiss football for the past two years.
Winners of consecutive Swiss Super Leagues by a combined total of 35 points, YB have found a new surge of success in the past two years. Now, just one week away from the start of their domestic season, it would appear that Gerardo Seoane’s men are not easing up as the Swiss club defeated Europa League semi finalists Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 in their first clash of the Uhrencup.
Five different goalscorers netted against the Bundesliga side, with the threatening Guillaume Hoarau starting the goal-fest in the sixth minute. Moumi Ngamaleu, Jean-Pierre Nsame, Gianluca Gaudino and Esteban Petignat then added the next four efforts to give the Bernese a convincing and alarming victory.
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Crucially, Young Boys are on the verge of returning to competitive football in the Swiss Super League, with their first test against Servette next Sunday. Their impending league commencement gives the native side a notable advantage over Palace, who don’t have a league game for almost a month.
This appeared to un-do Frankfurt, who are five weeks away from the return of Bundesliga and so struggled quite remarkably against their rampant opposition, described by local journalist Christophe Cerf as “ready to win the title”.
Young boys typically employ 4-4-2, though this can be changed to a far more defensive 5-3-2 if necessary. This shows in the table, with the club conceding 10 fewer goals than the next most watertight side.
However, it is at the other end of the pitch where Young Boys are most assertive, bagging 99 goals from 36 games in the last campaign: an average of 2.75 a game. In fact, they netted 18 goals more than anyone else in the league and even out-did Manchester City’s total of 95 despite the Citizens playing two clashes more.
The Eagles, then, need to be particularly careful at the back against the likes of Hoarau and Nsame.
Stat to share
YB’s championship winning 2018-19 campaign saw them win the league by an astonishing 20 points. This is the greatest margin since FC Basel achieved the same feat in 2011-12. No team has won the championship by more than 20 points since the switch from Nationalliga A to the Swiss Super League in 2003-04.
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