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.

Last update: 21.07.2021

There certainly have been better times for Swiss Club Football on the international stage. Switzerland was ranked outside the top 15 in the UEFA 5 year ranking in the last two seasons, which cost them an international spot and denied all but the champion access to the Europa League.

If we look back twelve 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 only YB could somehow compensate the enourmous success of Basel.

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. Season 18/19 and 20/21 were the low points with only 3 points scored, since the “Bebbi” bombed out against Apollon Limassol and CSKA Sofia in Europa League qualifiers.

BSC Young Boys is developing to become the new international powerhouse in Swiss football, although they never came close to the epic runs of FC Basel – except in season 20/21, when they scored a whopping 20.5 points, which equals to over 79% of all points scored from SUI. In the last five years, they always scored more than 5 points.

Behind the two dominant teams 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 in the past. But unfortunately, they failled to qualify in the last two years and will not be a part of international football 21/22, too.

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 12 years, the seats would be distributed as follows:

FC Basel would take 47 % 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 25 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 and 2020/2021, where they knocked out Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Europa League.

FC Zürich also passes the 10 % mark with 12 %. 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.

This season, the route to the group stage will be much tougher for the four contestants BSC Young Boys, FC Basel, Servette FC and FC Luzern. Let’s hope they score as much points as possible to stop the downfall of Swiss Football in the international ranking and save SUI that crucial 15th spot.


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