Valencia vs Young Boys Preview: Win or bust for both sides?
(Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)

Valencia vs Young Boys Preview: Win or bust for both sides?

Valencia and the Mestalla welcome Swiss Super League champions Young Boys in Group H on Matchday 4 with both sides still looking for their first win.

Craig King

Both of these sides are without victory in Group H of the UEFA Champions League and the odds of progression are getting longer and longer for both.

The Spaniards are out for revenge after a disappointing 1-1 draw in Bern on Matchday three and are looking to get their own campaign back on track with three points.

Draws, defeats and little else

Valencia are not in a good place at the moment, despite being only nine points from third. Their impressive fourth-placed finish in La Liga last season was the completion of their rebirth in Spanish football following two extremely poor seasons which also saw, rather inexplicably, Gary Neville become their manager for a short spell during that time.

In the Champions League once more and despite the departures of some key players such as Joao Cancelo to Juventus, there was much to be optimistic about for Los Che. The regression that has taken place since the start of the season then is startling and is not the campaign that anyone at the club envisioned.

Their manager, Marcelino, is under pressure in his second season. Valencia are yet to win at home all campaign, winning just once at Real Sociedad. They managed to draw five games in a row in all competitions before a 2-1 win at lower league Ebro in the cup was followed by defeat, this time at home to Girona at the weekend. It is worth noting though that Marcelino's side has only lost two games all season but the number of draws are beginning to draw the ire of the supporters.

Valencia are desperate. Their manager is desperate. They are at risk of being cut further adrift and eliminated from the Champions League and may not even make the Europa League if they don't finally pull a win out of the bag on Wednesday. The Mestalla is quite a magical place and VCF will need some renewed wizardry to prevent their season from plunging into real turmoil.

Swiss bliss

This is all they ever wanted when they qualified for the Champions League in August. The chance to rub shoulders with the elite and to give their fans six historic games to remember. For Young Boys, this tournament is not so much about winning and losing, but more about enjoying the ride.

This is all about history. Remember, YB were thirty-six years without a title last season and had never qualified for Europe's top competition despite years of trying. To finally get to this stage and also be on top domestically is something to be savoured. Already in this group, the fans have got more than they bargained for with their excellent performance at home vs. Valencia which earned them their first ever Champions League points and also saw their first ever goal in the competition.

YB want to win of course, that shouldn't be doubted, but anything they get out in Valencia, just like in Bern, is an added bonus. If they can come out of this clash with another point, then job done and expectations exceeded but who knows, if they win on Wednesday, like they threatened to do on Matchday three, they may even have a sniff at qualification and would at the very least be in a strong position for the Europa League spot.

Team news

YB have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Matchday four and can also call on the services of number one goalkeeper, David von Ballmoos, once again. He was injured for Matchday three and was replaced by the experienced Marco Wolfli. Ballmoos is one of the very best keepers in the league and will prove absolutely crucial if YB are to get anything from this match.

Guillaume Hoarau and Roger Assale provide the goalscoring threat for YB and those two ensure that the Swiss are a dangerous prospect in any match. Miralem Sulejmani is another creative asset while Christian Fassnacht is also more than useful to have in front of goal.

Valencia have not been so lucky on the injury front with Dani Parejo ruled out. The captain will be a big miss while Cristiano Piccini is another who featured in the reverse fixture but will be absent this time around.

Michy Batshuayi and Kevin Gameiro are two notable threats but also 22-year-old Santi Mina in his first appearance of the season at Ebro in the Copa del Rey. Two goals with twenty minutes remaining helped turn a 1-0 defeat into a 2-1 victory which surely puts him in contention to feature at some stage on Wednesday.

What they said

Despite their shaky performances in this competition so far, both sides fancy their chances in this match.

YB defender Loris Benito spoke in the pre-match press conference, telling reporters: "It will be a different game than in Bern. Accordingly, we need a different game plan. We are confident."

Gerardo Seoane, the YB manager, also spoke in the press conference, stressing the need to be strong defensively: "We expect tough battles in defence. We want to attack in the game. To do this, it requires solidarity in the defence."

Marcelino also spoke in his own pre-match press conference and pulled no punches, saying: "We have to create the best possible atmosphere to win tomorrow's game ... I'm as strong as ever, I face the current situation as a challenge ... I can't fathom a defeat against Young Boys."

There is real belief in the YB camp that they can shock their Spanish counterparts and with nothing really to lose, perhaps they can.