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Young Boys banking on Martínez

Published: Wednesday 5 February 2014, 14.05CET
BSC Young Boys have gone 28 years without a Swiss title, and as they gear up to face league leaders FC Basel 1893, fans have their fingers crossed for striker Josef Martínez.
by Rudi Wanner
from Berne
Young Boys banking on Martínez
Josef Martínez shone for Thun in the autumn ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 5 February 2014, 14.05CET

Young Boys banking on Martínez

BSC Young Boys have gone 28 years without a Swiss title, and as they gear up to face league leaders FC Basel 1893, fans have their fingers crossed for striker Josef Martínez.

Venezuela striker Josef Martínez aims to be the star of the show when the leading lights in Switzerland meet on Saturday, with BSC Young Boys eager to lever FC Basel 1893 out of their familiar top spot.

Having moved to Berne from Caracas FC in 2012, the 20-year-old spent the first half of this season on loan at FC Thun, making his mark in the UEFA Europa League and netting eight Swiss Super League goals to lead the individual rankings alongside Basel's Marco Streller. Chasing their first national title since 1985/86, Young Boys scored 30 goals before the winter break – only two fewer than Basel – and now hope that, with the 1.69m-tall Martínez in the ranks, they can start to outpace the champions.

Young Boys saw Martínez in action in the autumn – he struck in Thun's 3-2 defeat at his parent club – and were enthused enough to recall the 12-times capped international to the Stade de Suisse. "I'm delighted to be back at Young Boys," said the forward, who promptly rewarded YB by playing a key role – including his ninth league goal of the campaign – in Sunday's 2014-opening 2-1 home win against his old mates from Thun. "It's a special feeling to face my former colleagues, but I'm not nervous," Martínez had said beforehand. He was equally cool after the final whistle, concluding: "The three points are the most important thing."

Three points at St. Jakob-Park on Saturday would be worth getting much more excited about. Uli Forte's Young Boys trail Basel by two points going into the game. Basel's 2012/13 title triumph matched Young Boys' mark of four straight championships – won between 1957 and 1960 – and the YB fans do not want 'Bebbi' to make that record their own. It may be Martínez v Streller in the fight for the golden boot, but the Young Boys man is focused on a bigger battle.

"The most important thing is to help the team," he said. "We want to be top of the table. It is too long since Young Boys won a title."

Last updated: 05/02/14 15.25CET

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