Featured Matches
Previous
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Slovan Bratislava
Sheriff Tiraspol
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Debrecen
BATE Borisov
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Wealdstone
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Frickley Athletic
Scunthorpe XI
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Exeter City
Swansea City
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Rotherham United
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Derby County
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Mansfield Town
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newport County
Coventry City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Notts County
Birmingham City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
AFC Bournemouth
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Stevenage
Reading
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Altrincham
Accrington Stanley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Milton Keynes Dons
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Bristol City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Concord Rangers
Dagenham & Redbridge
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dumbarton
Carlisle United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Hyde
Burnley XI
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Shrewsbury Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Luton Town
Colchester United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Margate
Barnet
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Burnley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Huddersfield Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Southend United
Ipswich Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valerenga
Stabaek
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Nacional
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Náutico
Icasa
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Alianza Lima
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 31, 2005

Young Boys Wankdorf erection relief

BERN, Switzerland, July 31 (Reuters) - The supporters of Young Boys Bern have not had too much to celebrate in the 19 years since their team last won the Swiss league title.

Long since eclipsed by the likes of FC Basel and Grasshoppers Zurich, the club from the Swiss capital has even got a reputation for enjoying its status as a perennial loser.

But this weekend Young Boys sought to shake off their old image by officially opening the 32,000 Stade de Suisse Wankdorf stadium -- which cost 350 million Swiss francs ($271.3 million) -- with an uncharacteristically flashy homecoming party.

'I'm extremely happy, because I'm convinced this is the stadium from which Young Boys can finally launch themselves back into sporting success,' Swiss president, and Bern native, Samuel Schmid told spectators just before Saturday's show got underway.

Looking on as acrobats, musicians and dancers took to the pitch, the stadium's private investors gladly shared Schmid's enthusiasm while insisting the financial viability of the overall complex does not depend solely on the team's success.

'We have learned a lot from the multifunctional stadium at FC Basel,' stadium board president Benno Oertig told Reuters.

'When you look at the total investment, it's clear that we had to have other sources of income than just the football, which is why we have a supermarket, shops, offices and even a school included in the complex.'

'But of course the performance of the football club will have an important knock-on effect.

'We have calculated for average crowds of around 15,000 per match and are also targeting at least a third place finish in the league this season. That might put some pressure on the club, but you need pressure if you want to succeed.'

Fortunately for team coach Hans-Peter Zaugg, the club's backers also appreciate the need to invest in players.

Working to a budget of about 8.5 million Swiss francs -- surpassed in Swiss football only by FC Basel's estimated 30 million -- Zaugg made eight pre-season signings.

The most notable coup was convincing Switzerland midfielder and former Basel hero Hakan Yakin to join the club.

Having won both their opening away matches to take an early lead at the top of the Swiss standings, Young Boys already look prepared for their season of change.

'The building of the new stadium certainly played a part in my coming here,' Yakin told Reuters on Saturday.

'I'd already seen what a new home can do for a team during my time at Basel -- so now it's up to us players to put in performances that will bring in the supporters.'

Despite the recently appended Stade de Suisse title, the new Wankdorf does not have any official status as a national stadium and will share the staging of international matches with the other new Swiss grounds in Basel and Geneva.

The future hosts for Swiss Cup finals -- previously held exclusively in Bern -- is also still to be decided.

The Bern stadium is, however, already set to stage three group matches at the 2008 European Championships, marking a return to the international stage more than half a century after the old Wankdorf hosted the 1954 World Cup final.

Back in those days, Young Boys had something of a giant-killing reputation in Europe and even reached the semi-finals of the 1959 European Cup.

A second round defeat to Olympic Marseille in this season's Intertoto Cup reminded Bern's supporters that European glory is still a long way off.

Thanks to the new home, though, domestic success no longer looks quite so impossible.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.