Saturday, August 25, 2012

The relegation tournament was quite meaningless, but it was very different at the top group. Grasshoppers played surprisingly strong football and ended with most points in the group (equal with Basel). Yet, their weak first phase prevented them from championship contenders and they finished at 4th place. However, they made the whole battle more exciting, for they nibbled points from the real contenders. FC Zurich paid the price for finishing third at first – tiny difference of carried-on points left them third. Their only consolation was in scoring: they scored not only the most goals in the second phase, but far better than anybody else – 24 goals in 10 matches. No other club reached even 20.

Semi-finalists in the 1975-76 European Champions Cup, continuing to play well, but only for bronze medal.

Servette slipped a tiny bit – they finished 4th in the second phase. They were just a point less than their real rivals, Basel, but it was enough of a difference – halving points from the first round reduced their original advantage from 2 to 1 point. Another lost in the second phase and they ended with the same points Basel finished with. But worse goal difference. Luckily, it did not counted and Servette had to play championship play-off. Tiny difference again... Servette scored one goal, but Basel scored twice, leaving the boys from Geneva once again with silver.

Stability meant winning at the end – FC Basel was second in the first phase and second (on worse goal difference) in the final phase, but their combined record moved them to first place in the 'final' table. Scoring one goal more than Servette at the play-off made them champions. Clinched victory, but victory!

9th title for FC Basel. The 1970s were strong years for them and decline was not to start yet. Basel shroudly maintained competitive squad, built around few star players, gradually replacing them without losing the edge. Odermatt was gone by now, but the squad was solid if not exceptional. Eigil Nielsen the Danish import, seemingly helped Basel to remain on top. It was rather funny, for Nielsen came from Winterthur. One Dane a champion; another plummeting to second division football – unlucky Thygesen played for Winterthur.

The Cup brought some success to Zurich, but it was not the 'big' FC Zurich winning it. It was Young Boys. Their season was not all that great, but they managed to end up in the top final group of the. championship. Apparently, they knew they were at par with the 'big' clubs and more or less flunked the final phase, finishing last at the end. With nothing to win or lose in the championship, they seemingly concentrated on the Cup tournament, reaching the final. Their opponents were another club with nothing really to play for in the championship – Sankt Gallen ended just above relegation zone, but they had comfortable lead – 8 points they were ahead of Winterthur in the first phase, and even after halving the original points, they were outside danger. They played leisurely in the final phase, just getting enough points to keep above water, but the Cup was another matter. Yet, their team was not good enough – they did not lose by much, but lose they did... 0-1. Young Boys triumphed with the Cup.
Young Boys even now passes for historically successful Swiss club, but the emphasis is on 'historic'. It was their 5th Cup, but first trophy since 1960. Perhaps even to their long-suffering fans was clear that their victory was accidental, rather than a beginning of strong era. It was nice to see smaller club win nevertheless.