Date: 6th August 2011 at 7:50am
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FC Sion will provide tough opponents for Celtic in the Europa League with Swiss football very much on the rise.

At underage level the Swiss have been successful in recent seasons with those players emerging into the domestic game.

The Swiss league is now rated as the 13th most successful by UEFA and only a year ago Young Boys of Berne were leading Spurs 3-0 in as Champions League qualifier before Harry Redknapp’s side staged a comeback.

One of the readers of Video Celts was quickly on the case and I’m pleased to share the information passed on below. Sion travel to face champions Basel today which will give the Celtic scouts the perfect opportunity to assess their strengths.

Fc Sion won the Swiss Cup last year and finished fourth in the league. In the cup final they defeated Neuchatel Xamax 2-0 with goals from Vilmos Vanczak and Giovanni Sio. They play at Stade Toubillon, capacity 16,500 and average about 10,500 per game.

Their biggest claim to fame is that they have won every cup final they have been in, 12 from 12. This will be no easy game as Swiss teams are improving in Europe and they are now ranked the 13th best league. Below are the results of Swiss teams in Europe this season.

Swiss Euro Results Season 2011/12

Champions League

Standard Liege 1-2 FC Zurich (1-1, 0-1)

Europa League

Vllaznia 1-2 Thun (0-0, 1-2)

Young Boys 5-1 Westerlo (3-1, 2-0)

Palermo 3-3(a) Thun (2-2, 1-1)

Sion seem to play a 4-4-2 captained by Goran Obradovic. He has free role behind the strikers that likes to attack often. He is conter balanced by Seray Die, who plays a holding role.

Their main goalscoring threat is Sio, he scored 10 league goals last season and also got one in the cup final. He has scored or assisted every goal they have so far in the league this season.

A 21 year old former French youth international, Sio is pacy with a strong left foot that seems to switch from left wing to right forward throughout the games . Celtic will also have to watch the fullback Vanczak who is dangerous from set pieces, scores a few goals for them as well.

Sion fans voted goalkeeper Andris Vanins their player of the year and he also received Swiss league goalkeeper of the year in 2009-2010. Now if a goalkeeper is getting these awards, he has to do something to earn it, which would suggest teams create chances against them. They still had the best defensive record in the league last year, only shipping 36 goals.

At the moment they are one good striker away from being a very good team. In their summer transfer dealings they have signed a few players, two of whom we already know, Jose Goncalves the ex Hearts defender and Pascal Feindouno who we had on trial last December. Neither player has broke into the first team yet as their last game had the exact same lineup as their Cup Final last year.

Final say, we will create chances against them at home and I think we will dominate in midfield keeping Sio out of the game. I think we will score home and away, so if we keep a clean sheet at home, we will win the tie.

Switzerland’s European Results 2010/11

Champions League Qualifiers

Debrecen 1-5 FC Basel (0-2, 1-3)

Young Boys 3-2 Fenerbahce (2-2, 1-0)

Fc Basel 4-0 Sheriff Tiraspol (1-0, 3-0)

Young Boys 3-6 Spurs (3-2, 0-4)

Group Stage

Fc Basel 1-2 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich 3-0 Fc Basel

FC Basel 1-0 CFR Cluj

CFR Cluj 2-1 FC Basel

FC Basel 2-3 Roma

Roma 1-3 FC Basel

Europa League Qualifiers

Lausanne Sport 2-1 Borac Banja Luka (1-0, 1-1)

Utrecht 4-1 Luzern (1-0, 3-1)

Randers 3-4 Lausanne Sport (2-3, 1-1)

Steaua Bucuresti 1-1 (4-3 p) Grasshopper (1-0, 0-1)

Lausanne Sport 2-2 (4-3 p) Locamotiv Moscow (1-1, 1-1)

Europa League Group Stage

Lausanne Sport finished bottom with 1 point behind CSKA Moscow, Sparta Pargue, Palermo.

Young Boys finished 2nd with 9 points in a group with Stuggart, Getafe, Odense. Winning all of their home ties.

Europa League Knockout stage

FC Basel 3-4 Spartak Moscow (2-3, 1-1)

Young Boys 3-4 Zenit (2-1, 1-3)