The balance of power in Swiss Football: Why a strong FC Basel is crucial for international success

In the last 10 years, half of all points in international matches were won by FC Basel. BSC Young Boys comes second, but the gap is huge.

There certainly have been better times for Swiss Club Football on the international stage. Mainly due to a very poor last season, Switzerland is currently only ranked at 21th place in the UEFA club ranking.

If we look back ten years, the reason for this becomes quite obvious. It was mainly FC Basel who kept bringing in victory after victory for Swiss Football, notably often against teams that were stronger on paper. But in the last years, FC Basel began to struggle – and no other team could match their enourmous success.

The following chart shows all points won from every Swiss team that took part in an international competition for the UEFA ranking:

You can clearly see how steady FC Basel has scored since 2009. High point was 2013/2014, when they performed excellent in Champions League, defeating Chelsea two times and reached the quarter final in Europa League. Lately, their scores declined, with the exception of 2017/2018, when FC Basel had a good run in Champions League and made it to the knock out stage. Last year was the low point with only 3 points scored, since the “Bebbi” bombed out against Apollon Limassol in Europa League qualifiers.

Also quite solid was BSC Young Boys, although they never came close to FC Basel except last year. In the last three years, they always scored more than 5 points. Strongest year was 2013/2014, when they played excellent in Europa League.

Behind the two new powerhouses in Swiss Football, there is not much consistency found. Best perfromer from the rest is FC Zürich, who at least could score steady in Europa League. But due to a horrible second half of the last season, they will not take part this year.

The other teams like FC Thun, FC Sion, FC St. Gallen and FC Lugano had only brief moments to shine. All in all, no team was even close to consistently show good performance against international teams.

If we would form a Swiss Football Parliament based on the strength of the teams in the last 10 years, the seats would be distributed as follows:

FC Basel would take 50 % of all seats. Talk about dominance. In 2011 and 2013, they scored 63 % of all points won by Swiss Football teams.

Second strongest “Football party” would be BSC Young Boys with 20 percent. They could gain some seats due to a strong 2018/2019, where they qualified for the first time to Champions League and gained 44 % of all Swiss points.

FC Zürich also passes the 10 % mark with 12 %. The strong last season in Europa League helped them to gain some ground, too. Best year was 2009, when they scored 43 % of all points won by Swiss teams.

The other teams are all below the 5 % mark. Nobody could leave a lasting impression on the international stage.

Unlike last season, FC Basel will play the Europa League group stage this season and will most likely help to gain some much needed points. With BSC Young Boys already qualified for at least the Europa League group stage, it’s looking good that the two powerhouses can cement their dominance. FC Lugano also plays the group stage in Europa League, but is still far from a constant force in international competition.

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