25.12.2020Europa League

Young Boys Bern: Back on track

Bayer 04 meet Young Boys Bern in the Europa League Round of 32 – a club with a long and eventful history as well as a legendary stadium. A profile of our next Europa League opponents from Switzerland.

the club

Outside Switzerland, people generally talk about Young Boys Bern – but hardly anyone calls them that in their home country. The official name for the club is the Berner Sport Club Young Boys and in Switzerland they are mostly known as BSC Young Boys or even shorter as BSC YB. The club was founded in March 1898 under the name of FC Young Boys and they went on to secure their first league title in Switzerland five years later. Up to now, the club has won 14 national league titles with the most successful phase for BSC YB coming at the end of the 1950s with four championship titles in succession plus a place in the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1959 – to date the biggest triumph on the European stage.

Then there was a lean period lasting many years where the "big" BSC YB, now the club with the most members in Switzerland, had to wait a long time for trophies and at the end of the millennium they were twice relegated to the second division. The Yellows and Blacks have managed to get back on track in recent years. Adi Hütter, now the coach at Eintracht Frankfurt, led BSC YB to their first league title in 32 years back in 2018. They also qualified for the Champions League in 2018 and made a name for themselves by beating Juventus 2-1 at home.

BSC YB and Bayer 04 have never played each other before in a competitive match but they have met in friendlies – the last time was in January 2014 during a training camp on the Algarve. That match ended in a 2-2 draw with the goals for the Werkself scored by Eren Derdiyok and Julian Brandt. The only player involved from today's squad was Lars Bender in the first half.

the Team

Young Boys qualified for the knockout rounds in an incredibly dramatic fashion. In the final match in the group, BSC YB only needed a draw against the Romanian club CFR Cluj to go through and they were a goal down on 84 minutes. There was a turbulent period in added time with three red cards, a penalty – and the redeeming goal to take the Swiss club through in second place behind AS Roma.

The club from the capital are flying high in the Swiss League with their fourth win in succession. The first and, to date, only defeat of the season was against Geneva just before Christmas and they are top of the table with 28 points from 13 games. The winning coach Seoane is able to challenge for his third league title in three years as the YB coach. The captain Fabian Lustenberger is well known to a lot of Bundesliga fans as he played for Hertha Berlin for 12 years. Midfielder Gianluca Gaudino, son of the former Bundesliga star Maurizio Gaudino, played eight Bundesliga games for FC Bayern early on in his career and is to date the fifth youngest player to play for the record champions in the Bundesliga. Other top players in the squad are the experienced Miralem Sulejmani (formerly at Ajax and Benfica), homegrown Michel Aebischer and centre forward Jean-Pierre Nsame, who was sent off in the final group match against Cluj, and will probably be suspended for the game against the Werkself.

the Arena

For many years, the club played at the legendary Wankdorf Stadium where Germany beat Hungary in the 1954 World Cup final. The old Wankdorf ground was demolished in 2001 and rebuilt as the Stade de Suisse. BSC YB have played their home games there since 2005 and the arena was renamed the Wankdorf Stadium in July 2020. Before that it was already known as the New Wankdorf Stadium. Next to the ground with a capacity of 32,000, there is one of the biggest shopping centres in Switzerland, a school, a number of flats and a solar power station.

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