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Season review: Switzerland

Published: Tuesday 1 June 2010, 16.12CET
Thorsten Fink proved a capable successor to Christian Gross at FC Basel 1893 as they claimed a domestic double, though BSC Young Boys could feel aggrieved after letting slip their title chance at the last.
by Michael Schifferle
from Basel
Season review: Switzerland
Thorsten Fink was an instant hit at Basel ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 1 June 2010, 16.12CET

Season review: Switzerland

Thorsten Fink proved a capable successor to Christian Gross at FC Basel 1893 as they claimed a domestic double, though BSC Young Boys could feel aggrieved after letting slip their title chance at the last.

Succeeding Christian Gross, who won four league titles and as many Swiss cups in a decade at FC Basel 1893, looked like a daunting task for Thorsten Fink but the former FC Bayern München midfielder proved his worth in his first season in the Swiss Super League by claiming the double.

Champions: FC Basel 1893
Switzerland has become accustomed to dramatic finales and once more the title was won on the final day of the season, with Basel coming out on top for the 13th time as they won 2-0 at BSC Young Boys. The Berne side had led the table for 31 of the 36 rounds and were 13 points ahead of Basel in mid-September, but wilted at the last; had they beaten Basel on the final day, the crown would have been theirs.

Cup final: FC Basel 1893 6-0 FC Lausanne-Sport
The title race was close, but the Swiss Cup final was anything but; Basel's victory against second-tier Lausanne was cruelly emphatic. Valentin Stocker and Xherdan Shaqiri gave Fink's men a 2-0 half-time lead and Jacques Zoua, Scott Chipperfield, Stocker and Benjamin Huggel scored again to seal a tenth Swiss Cup success.

European places*
FC Basel 1893 – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
BSC Young Boys – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
Grasshopper-Club – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FC Luzern – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Lausanne-Sport – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Seydou Doumbia (BSC Young Boys)
He missd out on the league title but PFC CSKA Moskva-bound striker Doumbia was undoubtedly the star of the season, with 30 goals and seven assists. The 23-year old Ivorian's skill and technique put established marksmen like Marco Streller, Alexander Frei and Valentin Stocker in the shade.

One to watch: Xherdan Shaqiri (FC Basel 1893)
The tiny, versatile winger won the double in his first year as a professional, prompting Ottmar Hitzfeld to name him in Switzerland's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad. While he only scored four goals, he set up five more and demonstrated skill, power and persistence, whether as an attacking right-winger or a left-back. A goal and an assist in the cup final further enhanced the 18-year-old's stellar reputation.

Surprise package: Grasshopper-Club
After nine rounds Grasshoppers were eighth in the ten-team table, with new coach Ciriaco Sforza seemingly struggling, but 19 wins from the Zurich side's remaining games sent his young side roaring up to third, both Basel and outgoing champions FC Zürich beaten 4-0 at home. Although Gonzalo Zárate has left for FC Salzburg, his teenage strike partner Nassim Ben Khalifa and holding midfielder Veroljub Salatić could yet form the core of a title-winning side next season.

Leading scorer: Seydou Doumbia, BSC Young Boys (30)

Relegated: FC Aarau

Promoted: FC Thun

Number: 11,800
The average attendance for Switzerland's ten Super League teams this season; a huge total for a modest-sized nation.

Quote
"I am proud of this team and the whole club. It wasn't easy when things weren't going for us at the start of the season, but everyone kept calm – that was one reason for our success. Another was the class and the mentality of the team, which has continually developed over the season. These titles are something very special to me."
Thorsten Fink celebrates winning the double with Basel

Last updated: 06/07/10 14.34CET

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