In the Swiss Super League, FC Lucerne’s nagging dip in form cost them the lead in the table, a place they surrendered to FC Basel. The champions are ahead only on goal difference, but gave another powerful demonstration of their intent to seal a hat-trick of titles this term. In Austria, promoted Trenkwalder Admira maintained their healthy lead over chasing duo Austria and Rapid Vienna. FIFA.com reviews the latest action in the Alpine leagues.
No stopping Basel
Two rounds of matches took place in the Swiss Super League last week, with champions Basel emerging as the big winners. Coach Heiko Vogel’s men ran up a tight 1-0 victory over fellow title contenders FC Sion, before easing to a 4-1 win over Grasshoppers Zurich.
Tennis ace Roger Federer was in the crowd for the clash with the men from Zurich, and cannot fail to have been impressed as FCB raced into a 3-0 lead after just 26 minutes. Xherdan Shaqiri opened the scoring after six minutes with a thunderous 25-yard free-kick, before Stephan Andrist made it two in the 19th minute. The Freis senior and junior, Alexander and Fabian, added goals on 26 and 77 minutes respectively, Nzuzi Toko pulling one back for the visitors midway through the second half. Basel have now taken 22 points from their last eight matches and lead the standings on 28 points.
By contrast, the situation is taking on crisis proportions for Grasshoppers. Ciriaco Sforza’s team have won three, drawn one and lost nine this term and lie second from bottom with a measly ten points, just two ahead of promoted tail-enders Lausanne Sport. "Yet again, we’ve shown we’re capable of attractive football, but Basel have taught us a hard lesson in efficiency," Sforza told the official club website afterwards.
Breathing space for FCZ, Sion still in pursuit
Grasshoppers remain in the doldrums after losing both matches, but neighbours FC Zurich ended a long barren patch and came away from the week with four points, winning 2-0 away to FC Thun, and holding Lucerne to a creditable 1-1 draw at home.
In the clash at the venerable Letzigrund, Hakan Yakin put the visitors ahead after 72 minutes, but Mathieu Beda levelled it up just four minutes later. The result earned FCZ some breathing space as they are now four points clear of the relegation and play-off spots, but the dropped points cost Lucerne the lead in the standings.
Behind the top two, Sion remain well-placed to pounce on any slip-ups. Coach Laurent Roussey’s men lost to the new leaders, but kept up the chase with a 2-0 victory over FC Thun, who have now lost six of their last eight games and have not won since the sixth round of matches.
Grasshopper Club Zurich 1–4 Servette Geneva
FC Sion 0–1 FC Basel
FC Thun 0–2 FC Zurich
Lucerne 2–0 Lausanne Sport
Neuchatel Xamax 0–0 Young Boys Berne
FC Sion 2–0 FC Thun
FC Basel 4–1 Grasshopper Club Zurich
Servette Geneva 2-1 Neuchatel Xamax
Young Boys Berne 4–1 Lausanne Sport
FC Zurich 1–1 Lucerne
Top three: Basel (28 points), Lucerne (28), Sion (26)
Austria Vienna held, Rapid up to third
In the Austrian Bundesliga, Austria Vienna missed the chance to cut pace-setting Trenkwalder Admira’s lead at the top. In Sunday’s final game on Matchday 13, the Viennese giants were held 2-2 away from home by bottom club Kapfenberger SV and remain four points adrift of Admira, the surprise package of the season so far. Dieter Elsneg and Michal Ordos scored for the strugglers at the beginning and end of the match, with Roland Linz initially levelling on the stroke of half-time, and Nacer Barazite putting the visitors ahead with 20 minutes to go. Linz is now the league’s top scorer on seven goals.
In the Saturday games, leaders Admira played out a goalless draw away to SV Mattersburg, while Rapid Vienna edged a 3-2 victory over Sturm Graz to end a run of three games without a win. The result takes Rapid up to third on 20 points, ahead of Red Bull Salzburg on goals scored and Josko Ried on goal difference. The men from Vienna clambered above the Bulls and Ried by virtue of a 1-1 draw in the head-to-head meeting between the sides.
RB Salzburg 1–1 Ried
Rapid Vienna 3–2 Sturm Graz
Wacker Innsbruck 2–0 Wiener Neustadt
Mattersburg 0-0 Trenkwalder Admira
Kapfenberger 2–2 Austria Vienna
Top three: Trenkwalder Admira (26 points), Austria Vienna (22), Rapid Vienna (20)