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BSC Young Boys have already caused one upset by defeating Fenerbahçe SK in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round; now the Swiss side will attempt to pip Tottenham Hotspur FC to a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Neither of the teams meeting in the first leg of their play-off in Berne on Tuesday have made the group stage before. Spurs are making their bow in the tournament in its modern format, though they did reach the 1961/62 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals. Young Boys were semi-finalists even further back, in 1958/59, yet Vladimir Petković's men secured a 1-0 win over Fenerbahçe in Istanbul on 4 August to prevail 3-2 on aggregate with a display of real swagger that belied their mixed start to the Swiss Super League season.
Their domestic difficulties continued on Saturday, however, with a 1-0 home loss to previously winless Neuchâtel Xamax FC, leaving Young Boys with just five points from as many fixtures. Tottenham also failed to score in their Premier League opener, held 0-0 by Manchester City FC, but Young Boys chief scout Stéphane Chapuisat – who was at White Hart Lane – knows the scoreline did not reflect Spurs' performance. "Tottenham put City under a lot of pressure and played very aggressively with attacking wingers," the former Switzerland striker said. "They created several outstanding opportunities and could have won by a clear margin."
Young Boys coach Vladimir Petković was disappointed by his side's result on Saturday but hopes they can recapture the spirit of Istanbul on Wednesday evening. "These are the matches you play football for," he said. "We want to seize our small chance.
If we play like we did against Fenerbahçe, with that much passion and maybe a little bit more efficiently, then we are not without a chance."
While Tottenham, whose captain Ledley King will be left out of the game on the artificial Stade de Suiss surface, are new to the competition, not all of their players are. Heurelho Gomes – a semi-finalist with PSV Eindhoven in 2006 – cannot wait to return. "It's great to be in the Champions League again," the goalkeeper said. "I played in it for four years at PSV and I know how good it is. It's amazing to play in the Champions League with Tottenham now. It's the most important club competition in the world. Yes, we have a tough game against Young Boys.
They did really well to beat Fenerbahçe. We all hope to get past them but we know it will be difficult."
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