As Manchester United prepare to visit BSC Young Boys, they know Switzerland hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for the club. FC Basel have hurt United on more than one occasion in the past. Most significantly, Basel knocked out Manchester United in the 2011/12 group stages before upsetting them again last season.
Young Boys Make Champions League Debut Against Manchester United
History Between the Two
Young Boys were once drawn to face Manchester United in the 1958/59 European Cup preliminary round. However, United withdrew from the tournament that year and the team from Bern progressed on a walkover. Young Boys’ golden era came during the 1950’s and early 1960’s when, under the German coach Albert Sing, they reached a European Cup semi-final, won four league titles and did the league and cup double in 1958. They have struggled to replicate these achievements since then.
The Swiss side have a creditable draw at Anfield on their European CV from six years ago, though they lost twice to Everton in the Europa League in 2015.
Young Boys are the current Swiss champions and have started the season like a house on fire. They’ve won all six games in their league so far, keeping four clean sheets. They’ve only drawn one and won nine of their total 10 competitive games so far this season.
Manchester United, on the other hand, come into this with a questionable defensive record this term. David De Gea has kept only one clean sheet in the club’s five league games so far, conceding seven goals.
With arguably tougher tests to come in the group, United will be hoping to get off to a winning start in Bern. Young Boys will have nothing to fear and should be encouraged by United’s supposed vulnerability against Swiss teams in recent years.
For United, there could not have been a worse time to face the current Swiss champions given their fantastic start to the season.
Players to Watch
Former Paris Saint-Germain striker Guillaume Hoarau is in hot form for the Swiss champions. Ironically, the 34-year old has six goals in seven starts so far for Young Boys. He also has five caps for France on his CV.
24-year old winger Christian Fassnacht is another to keep an eye on. He’s been in scintillating form so far with four goals and an assist in the league.
Young Boys also boast the talented Serb, Miralem Sulejmani, among their ranks. Sulejmani has accumulated two goals and five assists so far this season. The 29-year old once held the record for being the most expensive player in Ajax’s history, before the Amsterdam club’s capture of his compatriot Dusan Tadic this summer.
For United, Romelu Lukaku has been at his goalscoring best so far, managing four in five. It will also be interesting to see what centre-back pairing Jose Mourinho opts for. Eric Bailly has seemingly been given the cold shoulder ever since a forgettable display at Brighton last month. Andreas Pereira and Fred could be set to feature while Nemanja Matic’s red card at the weekend might urge Mourinho to play his Serbian talisman given that he will already miss the next match versus Wolves.
Regardless of the fantastic form of the hosts, there will be no excuses if United do not start Group H with an away win over the Swiss champions.