Two sides who are slightly underperforming in the early stages of their respective leagues meet in the Champions League on Wednesday, as Young Boys welcome Villarreal to The Wankdorf Stadium.
The Swiss side are currently third in the Swiss Super League – which they have won in each of the past four seasons – and their opponents find themselves in the bottom half of La Liga.
Underperforming is perhaps a slightly harsh description for Young Boys, who are just four points off Basel in top spot with a game in hand, but their standards are very high in their native league.
YB were able to rescue a point in their most recent game at home to Luzern through a stoppage-time goal from Moumi Ngamaleu, after having fallen behind to a penalty on the half-hour mark and then spent almost an hour playing with 10 men thanks to a red card for Christopher Martins.
Whilst they are favourites in the Super League, David Wagner’s side are underdogs in Champions League Group F, but that did not stop them producing a shock 2-1 giant-killing of Manchester United in the opening match, aided by Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s dismissal in the first half.
They were then somewhat brought back down to earth in the second game, however, as they lost 1-0 away to Atalanta BC when Matteo Pessina became the first Italian to score for the Serie A side in the Champions League.
Nonetheless, Young Boys still sit second in the group and a win on Wednesday would put them in a strong position to reach the knockout stages for the first time in their history.
Villarreal will be desperate to win themselves, though, as anything else will leave them with a mountain to climb in the second round of group fixtures.
A 2-2 draw with Atalanta in their opening game was a reasonable start to proceedings – although they would have been disappointed to give up the lead in the 83rd minute.
However, their second game featured a Manchester United turnaround as the Red Devils got their revenge four months after losing to Villarreal in the Europa League final – Alex Telles equalising on the hour mark and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing the winner in the 95th minute.
That leaves the Yellow Submarine with just one point to show for their endeavours, bottom of Group F, and on a less-than-ideal run of form in all competitions.
Unai Emery’s men started the season slowly, drawing five of their six opening La Liga matches, and a 2-1 loss at home to Osasuna at the weekend – again, thanks to a late winner – sees them down in 11th in the standings and with an unfortunate habit developing of dropping points just before the final whistle.
Young Boys Champions League form:
Young Boys form (all competitions):
Villarreal Champions League form:
Villarreal form (all competitions):
We say: Young Boys 1-1 Villarreal
Villarreal may not be in the best form right now, but they have still lost just once in five away matches this season. Young Boys will test them and have been strong at home, but we are backing Emery’s side to hang on for yet another draw.