Spurs dash Young Boys' Champions League hopes
Swiss football side Young Boys of Bern have failed to qualify for the Uefa Champions League, after losing 4-0 to London's Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
The victory was sweet revenge for Spurs, after Young Boys’ shock 3:2 win over the English side in the first leg of the play-off tie in Bern on August 17. Spurs go through to the group stage 6-3 on aggregate.
Put on the back foot, Spurs’ manager Harry Redknapp went into the second leg telling his men to “swarm all over” Young Boys. He also urged Spurs fans to create an “intimidating” atmosphere at the White Hart Lane stadium.
Young Boys were ready, said coach Vladimir Petkovic ahead of the match. “We know what’s coming.”
Even so, playing at home – and not on the Swiss Astroturf which Redknapp said posed so many problems for his team in the first leg - Spurs controlled the game.
Their first goal came within five minutes with a header by Peter Crouch. The second was in the 32nd minute by Jermain Defoe, whose arm first touched the ball before he made an impressive strike into the Swiss goal.
Although Young Boys played more determinedly in the second half, Crouch sealed their fate, delivering a second header and then scoring from a penalty.
As winners on aggregate, Spurs go through to the Champions League group stages against teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan. It’s the first time that Tottenham have made it into the league, and 48 years since they competed in its earlier format, the European Cup.
Last season Spurs finished fourth in the English Premier League and Young Boys finished second in the Swiss Super League, which enabled both teams to go into the qualifying stages of the Champions League.
After the match, Redknapp said it was a "dream come true" to have made it into the league.
Million franc boost
Winning not only raises the victor’s status. There was also SFr25 million ($24 million) at stake, given to teams qualifying for the group stage.
Young Boys may be leaving empty-handed but another Swiss side, FC Basel, are relishing having qualified for the group stage for the third time.
The team won their return match against FC Sheriff in Moldova on Tuesday 3:0, resulting in a 4:0 aggregate.
The team’s Marco Streller told the Swiss tabloid Blick: “We drank a few beers but did not celebrate too much because we have a tough game on Saturday against Neuchâtel Xamax. We also have to get back on track in the Super League and keep up the momentum from the second half [of Tuesday’s match, where three goals were scored].”
The team’s performance in the Swiss premier league has been lacklustre so far.
The draw for the group stages will be made on Thursday. FC Basel coach Thorsten Fink has said it would naturally be exciting to play against his old club Bayern Munich.
The Tribune de Genève newspaper noted that FC Basel would be entering the Champions League with a better team than two years ago, with an “offensive armada that can do harm”.
And rooting from FC Basel’s hometown, the Basler Zeitung extolled the club’s victory, declaring “FCB are among the stars”, and sitting on a “boon of millions”.
Jessica Dacey, swissinfo.ch
Young Boys, or Young Boys Bern (YB), was founded on March 14, 1898. Since 2005 the team have played at the Stade de Suisse stadium in Bern (capacity 31,120).
The team have won 11 Swiss league championships and six Swiss Cups. The side are currently managed by Vladimir Petkovic.
Young Boys are one of the most successful Swiss football clubs internationally, and reached the semifinals of the European Cup in the 1958-59 season and the quarterfinals of the Uefa Cup Winners Cup in 1988.
Tottenham Hotspur, or Spurs, was founded in 1882. The team play at White Hart Lane stadium in north London (capacity 36,310)
The team have twice won the English league title, eight FA Cup finals, four League Cups and two Uefa Cups (1972 and 1984). They are currently managed by Harry Redknapp.
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