MX23RW : Tuesday, September 28 21:02:24| >> :120:45395:45395:
Dec 10, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Stade de Suisse
Young BoysYoung Boys
2-1
CFR ClujCFR Cluj
Nsame (90+4' pen.), Gaudino (90+6')
N. (88'), Sulejmani (90+5')
Nsame (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Debeljuh (84')
Paun (71'), Itu (84'), Burca (89'), Camora (90+9')
Balgradean (90+1'), Dokovic (90+10')

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

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

Swiss champions Young Boys host Romanian counterparts CFR Cluj on Thursday, in a Europa League Group A showdown that determines which of them will join group winners Roma in the knockout stages.

Berne-based Young Boys lost in Rome last week and are on seven points - two more than CFR, who were held at home by eliminated CSKA Sofia last time out. Therefore, YB will go through if they avoid defeat at the Wankdorf Stadium whereas their visitors must win.


Match preview

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

Although Young Boys eventually went down 3-1 at Stadio Olimpico despite taking the lead through prolific striker Jean-Pierre Nsame, they have progress within their own hands on Thursday night.

With only one shot on target and after conceding nearly two-thirds of the possession, it was hardly a convincing display against Paulo Fonseca's fluent side but a clash with Cluj is pitched far more evenly.

These teams met for the first time on the opening night of the campaign, sharing the points in Romania as the Gelb-Schwarzen came from behind to draw 1-1 thanks to Christian Fassnacht's 69th-minute equaliser, after CFR opened the scoring through Mario Rondon.

Young Boys are currently competing for the seventh time in the Europa League group stage, from which they have made further progress only twice before (in 2010-11 and 2014-15) but not in their three most recent campaigns. Therefore, making the last 32 is a major objective for a club that have been dominant on the domestic scene.

A Swiss Super League trip to Luzern on Sunday ultimately ended in a 3-2 success, though not before YB nearly let slip a three-goal advantage. It was a win that leaves Gerardo Seoane's side five points clear at the top of the table and well on course for yet another league title.

CFR Cluj players celebrate scoring against Young Boys in October 2020© Reuters

Meanwhile, opponents Cluj gained a measure of revenge on domestic rivals Iasi - the club which had knocked them out of the cup just a week before - with a 2-0 win which keeps them third in Romania's Liga 1.

They are fully aware that this Thursday's clash in Berne is a true instance of 'win at all costs' and will perhaps be grateful that there still remains any chance at all for them to go through, given the turmoil of recent events.

CFR's first ever European encounter with Bulgarian opposition saw them claim just their second ever away win in the Europa League proper - at CSKA Sofia on the opening night of the campaign - as their season started relatively smoothly.

Things have since spiralled inexorably downwards though, and that unexpected defeat against struggling Iasi in the Cupa Romaniei turned out to be the final game for beleaguered manager Dan Petrescu. The former Chelsea defender departed following a string of disappointing results that left his side well adrift of league leaders FCSB and saw his team dismantled by an aggregate score of 7-0 over two ties with rampant Roma.

After parting company with title-winning coach Petrescu, the Transylvanian club appointed Edward Iordanescu – son of former international coach Anghel Iordanescu, who memorably led the national side to the last eight of the 1994 World Cup.

Following last week's unimpressive goalless draw at home to CSKA - who have still not registered a single goal in the group - the odds are stacked against the former Gaz Metan manager pulling off a win in Switzerland. Against a limited Sofia side, his new team had little of the ball, few shots on goal and had Alexandru Chipciu sent off late on.

Though CFR had not conceded a goal in four successive European away games until Roma ruthlessly put five past them, they have now lost seven of their last ten away fixtures in the Europa League proper - failing to score in eight of those fixtures.

Their hosts, Young Boys, have scored at least once in all of their past 13 games in the competition, so Iordanescu must get the balance right between chasing glory and keeping the back door shut if his charges are to acquire the victory needed to progress.

Young Boys Europa League form: LDWWL
Young Boys form (all competitions): DWWWLW

CFR Cluj Europa League form: WDLLD
CFR Cluj form (all competitions): WLLLDW


Team News

Young Boys' Christian Fassnacht celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on October 3, 2019© Reuters

Long-term absentees Marvin Spielmann and Sandro Lauper remain out of contention for Young Boys, while Guinea centre-back Mohamed Camara was red-carded in Rome and will serve a suspension.

Tactically-flexible coach Gerardo Seoane generally employs a variation on 4-4-2 but could even return to the 3-4-3 he used at home to Roma, with young wildcard Felix Mambimbi or Congolese striker Meschak Elia ready to start alongside goal-machine Nsame.

Cluj defender Syam Ben Youssef and key midfielder Ovidiu Hoban tested positive for COVID-19 in the build-up to the Roma game and are still likely to be absent, though vice-captain Ciprian Deac returned on Sunday.

Therefore new boss Edward Iordanescu may opt to retain French winger Michael Pereira, while Catalin Itu should stand in for Hoban as Alexandru Chipciu is suspended after his red card last week.

Young Boys possible starting lineup:
Von Ballmoos; Hefti, Zesiger, Lefort, Garcia; Fassnacht, Aebischer, Sierro, Sulejmani; Elia, Nsame

CFR Cluj possible starting lineup:
Balgradean; Susic, Manea, Burca, Camora; Itu, Dokovic; Rondon, Deac, Pereira; Debeljuh


SM words green background

We say: Young Boys 2-1 CFR Cluj

Both sides feature a sprinkling of stars who could potentially shine even brighter on a grander stage, though collectively Young Boys are in a more settled spell.

Needing only a point to progress, the Gelb-Schwarzen can pick off Cluj on the break - as an away defence that conceded a bucketload versus Roma has hardly proven itself waterproof.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data


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A general shot of a Premier League football ahead of the Premier League clash between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park on October 30, 2016
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2Young Boys74211771014
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4Servette83321614212
5LuganoLugano73221110111
6Grasshopper ZurichGrasshopper8242109110
7Sion82331016-69
8St GallenSt Gallen81341118-76
9Luzern80441219-74
10Lausanne SportLausanne8044919-104

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