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Season review: Switzerland

Published: Monday 9 June 2014, 8.57CET
FC Basel 1893 made history by claiming their fifth straight league title, Hertha BSC Berlin-bound Valentin Stocker set pulses racing and FC Zürich lifted the Swiss Cup.
by Rudi Wanner
from Basel
Season review: Switzerland
Basel lift the trophy having won their fifth successive Swiss title ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 9 June 2014, 8.57CET

Season review: Switzerland

FC Basel 1893 made history by claiming their fifth straight league title, Hertha BSC Berlin-bound Valentin Stocker set pulses racing and FC Zürich lifted the Swiss Cup.

FC Basel 1893 landed a record fifth straight Swiss championship, fending off a strong challenge from Grasshopper Club, who finished runners-up for a second season running.

Champions: FC Basel 1893
Murat Yakin's side never looked back after assuming pole position on matchday 11, eclipsing BSC Young Boys's feat of four consecutive titles with a game to spare. An eye-catching sequence of 28 matches without defeat between August 2013 and May 2014 laid the sturdy foundations for their triumph. The UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists finally claimed their 17th crown with a 3-1 win at FC Aarau. Captain Marco Streller admitted: "I have a great feeling of relief." Team-mate Valentin Stocker added: "We've won the league five times in a row – that's a great compliment to the team and the fans."

Cup final: FC Zürich 2-0 FC Basel 1893 (aet)
After a tight first hour, the final swung Zürich's way when Gastón Sauro saw red, though it was not until Giovanni Sio was also dismissed nine minutes into extra time that they took advantage. Mario Gavranovic did the damage, heading in the opener almost immediately and tapping in a second six minutes from the end to earn the trophy, and with it a place in next season's UEFA Europa League. It meant Zürich have now beaten Basel in all four of their Swiss Cup final meetings. "Today is a wonderful day," said the match-winner. "First and foremost, I'm delighted with the cup win but also, of course, that I scored both goals."

European places*
FC Basel 1893 – UEFA Champions League group stage
Grasshopper Club – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
FC Zürich – UEFA Europa League play-off
BSC Young Boys – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FC Luzern – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

©AFP/Getty Images

Valentin Stocker sparkled in his final season with Basel

Player of the year: Valentin Stocker (FC Basel 1893)
The league does not have an official player of the season award, but the tricky winger enjoyed another outstanding campaign, registering 13 times and providing seven assists. A pivotal player in Basel's recent domination of the Super League, Stocker will be sorely missed next term after penning a deal with Hertha BSC Berlin. The 25-year-old will also doubtless be a valuable asset for Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld at this summer's FIFA World Cup. VfL Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, meanwhile, was Switzerland's official player of the year for 2013.

One to watch: Shkelzen Gashi (Grasshopper Club)
The 25-year-old has always been blessed with superb technique, yet came of age by scoring 19 goals in 32 league outings. A product of the Zürich academy, the Albanian No10 has thrived on the added responsibility placed on his shoulders.

Surprise package: FC Luzern
A club who have always been there or thereabouts slumped to an underwhelming eighth-place finish last term and were poised for another year of transition following the arrival of sporting director Alexander Frei. However, a number of key acquisitions, including midfielder Oliver Bozanic, paved the way for a fine campaign as Carlos Bernegger's side finished fourth, clinching a UEFA Europa League berth.

Leading scorer: Shkelzen Gashi, Grasshopper Club (19)

Relegated: FC Lausanne-Sport

Promoted: FC Vaduz

Number: 5
Basel's fifth successive Swiss crown was a league record. 

Quote
"I've had a successful, intense and great time here."
Coach Murat Yakin announcing his departure after two trophy-laden years at the helm of Basel

Last updated: 10/06/14 23.04CET

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