For a BSC Young Boys fan, it must have been hard to know what to feel after last week's roller-coaster first leg against Tottenham Hotspur FC in the UEFA Champions League play-offs.
The high of being fast-tracked into a three-goal lead through strikes inside 28 minutes from Senad Lulić, Henri Bienvenu and Xavier Hochstrasser, preceded a big dip in emotions following Roman Pavlyuchenko's late second goal for Tottenham in a 3-2 home victory.
The Swiss team's winning position in the tie could, perhaps should, have been stronger as substitute Christian Schneuwly had two gilt-edged opportunities for a fourth Young Boys goal before Pavlyuchenko scored. YB centre-half François Affolter is therefore adamant that greater defensive discipline will be needed if Vladimir Petković's men are to complete their assignment at White Hart Lane in Wednesday's second leg.
"The victory was a good result but we shouldn't have conceded two goals," said the 19-year-old, capped for the first time by Switzerland earlier this month. "We should have been more focused. We were very efficient in attack – scoring three goals from as many first-half chances – but we should have been tighter at the back and not given anything away. Now it will be dangerous at their place, and we have to be more disciplined and raise our game even further."
If a trip to last season's fourth-place finishers in the Premier League represents a tough proposition for the Berne club, they should at least be affirmed by their experience in the third qualifying round against Fenerbahçe SK. Held by the Turkish side's ten men in the home first leg, Young Boys went and won 1-0 in Istanbul with centre-forward Bienvenu again on target. "We have shown we can beat Tottenham and we also did it against Fenerbahçe in a game where we had to score," continued Affolter. "Now it is easier because we don't necessarily have to win, we just have to perform and not concede many goals."
YB right-back Scott Sutter also conveyed the sense of confidence forged in the cauldron of the Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium. "We definitely have a chance of the group stage," the 24-year-old said, "and we have nothing to fear. Of course we should have respect, but we have proved ourselves against Fenerbahçe and at home to Tottenham. We are normally stronger away from Berne too, so I hope we can get a result."
While Sutter rated the Fenerbahçe win as a career highlight, any success in north London would surely surpass that moment for a player born and educated in the Home Counties of England – and raised a Tottenham fan. "I hadn't experienced anything like the victory at Fenerbahçe," said the full-back, who has a Swiss father and moved to Switzerland, with Grasshopper-Club, aged 16. "But now I'm looking forward to this next challenge, starting the day before the match when we train at Spurs' stadium. It will be another great experience."
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