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No rest for the footballers

Grasshoppers Zurich have had little time to enjoy their Swiss title


It may be the height of summer in Switzerland but that doesn't mean lengthy holidays for the country's footballers. On Wednesday the new domestic season gets underway, just three and a half weeks after the end of the previous campaign.

Switzerland's lengthy winter break has traditionally ensured an earlier start to the league programme than in other European countries. This season, though, the involvement of Lausanne and Basel in the Intertoto Cup has brought about an even shorter break than usual.

On Wednesday Basel travel to Sion while Lausanne make the long journey to St Gallen. The league's remaining eight teams begin their season on Saturday.

Defending champions Grasshoppers Zurich, who kick off their campaign at home to Aarau, are strong favourites to defend their recently-won title, with their biggest competition expected to come once again from Lugano, St Gallen, Basel and Servette.

Despite having very little time to celebrate last season's triumph, Grasshoppers coach Hans-Peter Zaugg insists his team are raring to get back into action.

"The early start makes it easier for us to continue our form from last season," Zaugg told swissinfo. "It's not like we're starting from scratch. Hopefully we can make a good start so people see that Grasshoppers were champions last season and are now looking to be champions again."



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