CSKA Moscow vs Young Boys Bern – Wednesday 19:45 BT/20:45 CET at Stadion CSKA Moskva, Moscow.
CSKA Moscow are on the verge of continuing their 100% record of qualifying for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League via the qualification playoff route. The Armymen carry a 1-0 lead into the second leg thanks to a massive plunder by Young Boys’ defender Kasim Nuhu, who produced a slapstick like own goal in the dying moments of the first leg.
The one goal advantage gives CSKA a massive advantage when the tie returns to Moscow. Young Boys have struggled when on the road in the post-Soviet space having lost both their away games in Ukraine in the last two seasons. Last year they lost 2-0 in Ukraine to Shakhtar Donetsk and this season were defeated 1-0 on the road by Dynamo Kyiv. On both occasions Young Boys were able to capitalize on their home advantage to turn the tie around in the second leg.
This time they will not have that advantage as the second leg will take place in Russia in front of the energetic crowd at the Stadion CSKA Moskva. Perhaps the only hope that Young Boys have is that CSKA have had a somewhat difficult away trip this weekend. Travelling to the border to Asia CSKA faced Ural Ekaterinburg on Saturday. Travel is a massive factor in the Russian Football Premier League and CSKA showed that they had a difficult game midweek against YB Bern as they crawled to a sluggish 0-0 draw against Ural.
With the games coming thick and fast in the RFPL, and with CSKA having the thinnest of all the topsides in the league, head coach Viktor Goncharenko does not have the luxury to rotate the squad. The lack of squad depth is CSKA’s biggest problem, and it could hurt the team ahead of the second leg against CSKA.
CSKA Moscow vs Young Boys Bern – Player to look out for:
Aleksandr Golovin #17 – CSKA Moscow
The Neymar effect has reached CSKA Moscow as Aleksandr Golovin has been linked with Borussia Dortmund as a possible replacement for Ousmane Dembélé. At least when one believes the Russian sports portal championat.com, which is never shy of taking enquires by scouts as face value for actual transfer requests. Despite his talent, it is unlikely that Golovin will soon play in the yellow and black of Borussia Dortmund. Instead, the 21-year-old midfielder will be an important part of the CSKA Moscow side that wants to secure their fifth UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in a row.
Yoric Ravet #7 – Young Boys Bern
The Champions League playoffs could be the last games for Yoric Ravet in the Young Boys Bern shirt. The 27-year-old French winger has been targeted by SC Freiburg to replace Maximilian Philipp, who left Freiburg for Dortmund earlier in the summer. Signed from the Grashoppers, last summer Ravet has become a key player for the Young Boys scoring six goals and 17 assists in 32 Super League games for the Bern based club. Freiburg’s interest continues and with the Champions League playoffs concluded expect Bern to decide on the future of their French winger.
CSKA Moscow vs Young Boys Bern – Match Stats
- CSKA have now won all of their European games against Swiss opposition.
- CSKA’s first leg victory was Young Boys’ first ever defeat to a Russian side.
- CSKA have a 100% record in this final stage of UEFA Champions League qualifying, prevailing in 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2015-16.
- You could also add 1992-93 when they overcame FC Barcelona to make the group stage though that was under a different competition format.
- The Army Men qualified directly for the group stage in 2016/17, their tenth campaign in the Champions League proper and fourth in a row. Pitted against AS Monaco FC, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur FC, they bowed out after three draws and three losses.
- Both Young Boys and CSKA qualified for the 2017-18 competition by finishing second in their respective leagues last term.
- Belarusian Viktor Goncharenko is the youngest-ever coach to lead a team in the UEFA Champions League, setting the record ten seasons ago aged 31.
- CSKA can qualify for the group stage for the fifth year in a row.
Futbolgrad’s Prediction: CSKA Moscow vs Young Boys Bern 1-1
CSKA Moscow vs Young Boys Bern – Possible Lineups
Akinfeev – A. Berezutskiy, Vasin, V. Berezutskiy – Fernandes, Golovin, Wernbloom, Milanov, Schennikov – Chalov, Olanare
Manager: Viktor Goncharenko
Young Boys Bern
Von Ballmoos – Benito, Nuhu, von Bergen, Mbabu – Aebischer, Sanogo – Fassnacht, Ravet – Hoarau, Sow
Manager: Adi Hütter
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.