MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 17:40:52| >> :600:2360026:2360026:
Aug 3, 2021 at 7pm UK at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu
CFR ClujCFR Cluj
1-1
Young BoysYoung Boys
Manea (4')
Susic (45+4'), Deac (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Sierro (90+3')

Preview: CFR Cluj vs. Young Boys - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between CFR Cluj and Young Boys, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Seeking to take one step closer to the glittering prize of Champions League group-stage football, Romanian champions CFR Cluj take on their Swiss counterparts Young Boys on Tuesday.

While the hosts progressed to this third qualifying round with serene ease last week, their visitors were made to sweat as they overcame Slovan Bratislava 3-2 on aggregate.


Match preview

CFR Cluj's Billel Omrani celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates on August 13, 2019© Reuters

Starting the season with a European defeat to modest Borac Banja Luka of Montenegro last month - then losing the Supercupa Romaniei on penalties - it may have seemed that Cluj were set to crash out of the Champions League at the very first hurdle.

Since then, though, the Transylvanian outfit have won five games on the spin to start the defence of their domestic title with maximum points from three fixtures and mount a comeback against Borac, before breezing past Lincoln Red Imps in the second qualifying round.

It was two Gabriel Debeljuh goals in less than 20 minutes at the start of the first leg's second half which saw Marius Sumudica's side take the ascendancy in that tie with the champions of Gibraltar, with last Wednesday's return leg at Stadionul Constantin Radulescu then more or less a formality following Mike Cestor's early goal.

In all, a 4-1 aggregate win - followed by Saturday's 1-0 victory over Chindia Targoviste, which puts the Railwaymen top of the early Liga 1 standings - represents a fine week's work for Sumudica and company, so expectations are naturally rising before the visit of Young Boys.

The pair previously met in last year's Europa League group phase, as Cluj failed to win either home or away against the Swiss side, and the game at the Wankdorf Stadium proved a particularly controversial encounter - with three men sent off in stoppage time following a dramatic late comeback by the hosts.

Young Boys players celebrate scoring against CSKA Sofia in the Europa League on November 5, 2020© Reuters

To ensure that hostilities could be resumed with their Romanian rivals this week, after a goalless draw in the opening 90 minutes of their recent second round tie, Young Boys hosted Slovan Bratislava in the second leg and ultimately squeezed through despite a nervous finale. Having stormed into a three-goal lead in Berne, they then proceeded to concede twice early in the second half, so were relieved to see out a 3-2 win overall.

Now, 'YB' are looking to progress to the group stage of Europe's elite club competition for just the second time and will be determined to do better than their third-round exit last season, when they lost 3-0 to ambitious Danish outfit Midtjylland.

Reigning Swiss Super League champions, after finishing 31 points clear of Basel to win a fourth successive national title, they recently got off to a flyer domestically by beating Luzern 4-3 in their opening game of the new campaign, before a frustrating goalless draw with Grasshoppers at the weekend.

A total of 28 shots on target and boasting more than two-thirds of possession against the Zurich side, though, clearly demonstrates the influence of former Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner, who was appointed head coach in June.

With his commitment to attacking principles already renowned, since stepping up from the shadows of the Borussia Dortmund backroom staff, Wagner has generally succeeded in marrying good football with positive results - though not at irredeemable Bundesliga basket-case Schalke last season.

If he can lead his new team to the promised land over the course of the next few weeks, the German tactician may even find himself flourishing on the continent's biggest stage following a tricky couple of years. Of course, first Young Boys must get past a worthy opponent in Cluj over the course of what is sure to be a suitably intense 180 minutes.

CFR Cluj Champions League form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

CFR Cluj form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Young Boys Champions League form:
  • D
  • W

Young Boys form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D



Team News

Young Boys' Jordan Siebatcheu celebrates scoring their fourth goal in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

Young Boys remain without two integral figures, in captain Fabian Lustenberger and star striker Jean-Pierre Nsame - both of whom continue to recover from serious injuries - but Nico Maier is close to a return and could even feature in the squad.

In Nsame's ongoing absence, Jordan Siebatcheu - who made his debut for the United States earlier this year, before scoring the winning goal in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final in June - should start up front in a 4-4-2. Either young Felix Mambimbi or DR Congo forward Meschak Elia will join him.

Winger Christian Fassnacht featured for Switzerland in their run to the last eight of Euro 2020 and will provide both width and endeavour on the right flank for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Cluj coach Marius Sumudica has favoured a flexible 4-3-3 formation since his appointment earlier this summer, with Billel Omrani, Claudiu Petrila and Alexandru Paun among several live contenders to start in support of chief goal-getter Gabriel Debeljuh, who was rested at the weekend. The Croatian's replacement, Denis Alibec, scored the winner while deputising though, so will be pushing for minutes from the bench.

Veteran left-back Camora - currently Cluj captain - completed his return from injury by setting up Alibec's goal and is set to take his place in the back four once again, having racked up over 300 appearances for the club.

CFR Cluj possible starting lineup:
Arlauskis; Susic, Graovac, Bouhenna, Camora; Hoban, Sigurjonsson, Deac; Chipciu, Debeljuh, Paun

Young Boys possible starting lineup:
Von Ballmoos; Hefti, Camara, Zesiger, Lefort; Ngamaleu, Aebischer, Sierro, Fassnacht; Elia, Siebatcheu


SM words green background

We say: CFR Cluj 1-2 Young Boys

Expect an open encounter on Tuesday, as the visitors favour the front foot and Cluj are unlikely to sit back and soak up pressure on home turf - particularly with the threat of 'away goals' now a relic of the past.

While the home side have hit their straps of late, Young Boys will prove a significant step up in class, so the Romanian champs may find themselves with a first-leg deficit to overcome when they journey to Berne next week.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: CFR Cluj vs Young Boys

CFR Cluj
35.2%
Draw
20.0%
Young Boys
44.8%
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