Wednesday, June 17, 2015

BSC Young Boys - FC Luzern (21-05-2015)

A belated departure at the rental company plus roadwork in and around Paris means that I am outside of Paris 1.5 hour later than planned. This means I have to drive virtually all the time to still make it to Bern for this odd Thursday evening game. I arrive ten min early at the stadium... where I get stuck in traffic.

After having finally parked at my hotel, next to the stadium, I make my way over to the Stade de Suisse, the national stadium, which opened in 2005. As in St. Gallen the new stadium is built on top of a shopping mall – somehow fitting for a cold capitalist country. On the agenda is a game in the top flight of Swiss football, the Raiffeisen Super League, between home team Berner Sport Club Young Boys 1898, or BSC Young Boys for short, and FC Luzern.

After having been sent to another ticket office, as all others close exactly at kick-off (?!), I pay a hefty CHF 35 (roughly $40), and can finally get into the stadium. While in line for my ticket I had already heard that I missed the first goal. I assumed it was for the home team.

As I take my seat, 15 minutes after kick-off, I see that the visitors of FC Luzern have scored the first goal in the 13th min. As they brought some 500 fans, who (only) had to drive some 1.5 hours, it sounded as if Bern had scored.

It is a cold May evening and the stadium is roughly one-third filled – the official attendance is 14,430. Most have some yellow-black gear; around me there are mostly older men. The young 'ultras' are in the stand opposite me and have nice banners.

In terms of both quality of both atmosphere and football the game is not much different from a second division game. Just the setting is different. Not that many chances, but both team try to attack without taking too much risk. Unsurprising half time score is 0-1.

The second half is not much different. In the 48th minute a blocked Young Boys shot leads to a Luzern counter. The next attack leads to a good safe on the line by the Luzern goalie.

Overall the game is characterized by good but predictable passes in midfield and poor final passes. There are many small and bigger fouls that the referee lets go, which means it gets worse and he looses more and more control. In the 68th minute a Luzern striker takes the ball from a Bern defender (who appeals in vain for a foul) and shoots from outside of the box just wide.

In the 75th minute a long ball puts a Bern striker alone in front of the keeper, but he decides to head from 15 meter (very wide) rather than control and shoot. Two minutes later a Luzern player grabs a Bern player by the neck, but gets only a yellow card from the wheezily referee. In the 81th minute a Bern free kick was headed in from 7 meter, but the goalie stops the ball on the line.

In the 88th minute a too short Bern back pass leads to the goalie fouls the Luzern striker, but the referee gives the striker a yellow card for diving. Absolutely terrible referee! In the 90th minute a Bern surprise shot from 20 meter goes just over the goal. In the first minute of extra time the Luzern goalkeeper and a Bern striker clash in the 5 meter box, the rebound is saved by a defender with his hand, but the referee doesn't punish either foul. Final score: 0-1.

Modern Swiss football is a bit like the Champions League without the good football. A completely sanitized football experience. A stadium built above a shopping mall, high prices for everything (football and food) to keep it middle class, and too big stadiums for the moderate number of fans. The only thing that gives it some authenticity, are the tifosi, who sing and drum and create at least some atmosphere.

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