Having knocked out holders the Netherlands in the group stage, Switzerland are hopeful of more giant-killing against Spain in the play-offs following an impressive 2-1 victory in the first leg at the Brügglifeld.
Spain came into the match boasting the only perfect record in qualifying for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship after winning Group 4 at a canter, and they looked like making it nine victories in succession in Aarau. Yet Switzerland rose brilliantly to the challenge after falling behind to Sergi Busquets' 18th-minute opener as goals from Johan Vonlanthen and Adrian Nikci set up a mouthwatering second leg in Spain on Tuesday.
The home side went into the game boasting the likes of senior national-team players Fabian Lustenberger and Vonlanthen, even if Blerim Dzemaili was ruled out through injury, but were forced to do it the hard way when Busquets put the visitors ahead. Cheered on by a partisan crowd of 2,500, the hosts retained their composure and were quickly on the hunt for an equaliser. The search lasted nine minutes, Vonlanthen firing home following good work from Fabrizio Zambrella.
A share of the spoils would have been more than any other side have taken from Spain in this campaign, but the Swiss wanted more. Six minutes after the interval they got exactly that, as Nikci rose to head in Didier Crettenand's free-kick and leave Spain in uncharted territory. And there, after their desperate hunt for an equaliser was repelled by fierce Swiss defending, Juan Ramon Lopez Caro's team remain.