On the Wankdorf, the announcements follow each other at an insane pace. After Ugrinic on Tuesday and Itten on Wednesday, here is Raphaël Wicky, initiated on the Bernese bench. With a clearly stated ambition: to regain the title of champion.
After four years of exile, Raphaël Wicky (45) is back in Switzerland, and not just anywhere. He has been bankrupt since his ouster from Chicago Fire (Major League Soccer) in the fall of 2021, but de Walliser chose to return from those of Young Boys, arguably the best address in the Super League and certainly the most stable.
The former Swiss international (75 caps between 1996 and 2007) did not rush before finding the light. After the end of his American experience, he had knowingly rejected all proposals to devote himself to his ailing father. This sabbatical was also an opportunity for him to recharge his batteries in a more intimate setting.
In Bern, Wicky will succeed Matteo Vanetta, interim coach who will not have succeeded in transforming the test – the Ticino had ensured the transition after the sacking of David Wagner, a casting error that titled the season of the Swiss champion “rotten”, deprived of a fifth consecutive crown both by the unexpected arrival of FC Zurich and by his own shortcomings.
Disappointing visit to Basel?
Bringing YB back to the center of the Swiss arena (its natural place) and perhaps European, is the mission entrusted to Raphaël Wicky. Intelligent and polyglot, the man, who has grown up from his failures, now has the build to respond to them. What will the future hold for her at a time when she will also have to provide after-sales service?
Five years ago, his first experience on a bench in the Super League – in this case FC Basel – ended in a fiasco. On the edge of the Rhine, the Valais knew he was advancing on mines. Disagreements between peoples and the loss of a title to which the Rhinelanders had subscribed for eight years had soaped up the slope too quickly and hastened the fall.
With his charisma and certainties in the capital, Wicky does not get his second chance this time. It promises to be fascinating to see how he will revive Bernese stocks.
In the battle that the Swiss big cars are embroiled in, the Young Boys have masterfully regained control. While Basel and Zurich (which has not yet named Breitenreiter’s successor to the bench) are discreet, the Bernese club continues with triumphant press releases. Filip Ugrinic poached by FC Lucerne on Tuesday, Cédric Itten repatriated from Glasgow Rangers on Wednesday, Raphaël Wicky formalized this Thursday at 7.30am… YB marks its territory, YB has already raked wide and hit hard compared to the competition. Promoted to new sporting director, Steve Von Bergen could not have dreamed of a better introduction.
Teammates on the pitch, rivals on the bench
With an XXL recruiting far from over, YB, clearly focused on reclaiming his title, is positioned as the No. 1 favorite for his non-succession. Ironically, the new Wankdorf coach is preparing to cross swords with Alexander Frei, who had previously replaced him at Basel to manage day-to-day business for two games before being inducted this summer. even in the role of “chief trainer” in Saint-Jaques.
Wicky on the one hand, Frei on the other, this immediately brings back some of the most beautiful pages of the Swiss team – now rivals, the two teammates were associated in the national jersey between 2001 and 2007. However, their distant reunions are nothing compared to the daily reenactment of the Spycher-Wicky duo.
At the start of the transfer window, YB’s overcrowded activity contrasts with the current silence of the clubs in French-speaking Switzerland. Neither Servette nor Sion have announced anything yet. At both La Praille and Tourbillon, impatience is not far from winning the fans.