22 August 2019
Two sides that made their debuts in the Champions League (CL) group stage in 2018/19 go head-to-head in the playoffs this year, as Young Boys take on Crvena Zvezda at the Stade de Suisse in Bern. Both teams are aiming to successfully negotiate the CL qualifying rounds for the second year in a row, as both enter this clash after a victorious weekend in their respective national championships.
The hosts have won four (consecutive) of five competitive games this term (W4, D1), three of which have been accompanied by a clean sheet. Last year’s 3-2 aggregate victory against Dinamo Zagreb was Young Boys’ first CL playoff win in their fourth attempt, as they now hope to replicate the same success here. It was an unpleasant CL initiation for the Swiss champions though, as they finished bottom of their respective group with a record of a win, a draw, and four losses. However, their only CL triumph in 2018-19 arrived at home, as they currently have six wins in 24 CL outings, qualifiers included (W6, D4, L14).
Meanwhile, the visitors started this year’s qualifiers with a tight 2-1 aggregate triumph over the Lithuanian side Suduva (0-0 A, 2-1 H) in the first round. After eliminating HJK Helsinki 3-2 on aggregate (2-0 H, 1-2 A), the reigning Serbian Super League holders went on to beat Copenhagen in a tense penalty shootout (1-1 H, 1-1 A) to reach their second-ever CL playoffs. The Red-Whites have had identical returns in their maiden CL group stage as their next rivals (W1, D1, L4), with three of those losses coming away from home. Crvena Zvezda’s record against Swiss teams can be a problem for Vladan Milojevic’s side here (W5, D4, L4), especially as four of those triumphs have come at home.
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