Leader FCZ: “Dreaming is nice and should be allowed – but nobody loses their head here”
Is FC Zurich really a candidate for the championship this season? And what are the reasons for the successful start to the season? A visit to the leader of the Super League.
“The FCZ can become Swiss football champions!” It has been a long time since a new man was able to say this sentence for the last time in Zurich without having to fear immediately that he would be admitted to the insane asylum. In the 2010/11 season it was Urs Fischer’s coach. A single point is missing in the end on FC Basel.
But now, a little more than ten years later, the topic of championship titles is haunting Zurich again for the first time. The “Tages-Anzeiger”, which is certainly not uncritical with the FCZ, had the headline even before the top game against YB: “Why the FCZ can become champions”.
The 1-0 win against the Bernese did not exactly help to slow down the euphoria. And who saw how passionately and exuberantly the team celebrated this interim success, the current one is already growing something special?
In any case, the mood at the FCZ is pretty good these days. Not only when trainer André Breitenreiter – who became a home office coach against YB because of Corona – is switched to the cloakroom by video and two days off for the team.
15 games, 9 wins and only 2 losses. Now there are some obvious approaches to explain the change in Zurich. The influence of the new trainer Breitenreiter. The gates of Assan Ceesay. Or FCZgestein Blerimzemaili, who may just be the last spring of his career as D-Ur.
The list can quickly be continued as required. You come to the quiet clearer Ousmane Doumbia in midfield. Or to the outrunners Guerrero / Boranijasevic, who are much more than mere running machines and provide an important, previously unknown component of the FCZ offensive.
The playmaker’s odyssey
And you come to him: Antonio Marchesano. He will be almost 31 years old. It took a lot longer for him than for the other average Swiss footballer. Locarno, Bellinzona, Winterthur, Biel – he had to complete an odyssey before he got the chance in the Super League.
Although he had to be patient a little longer than expected. The contract with FCZ was already signed when the club was relegated in 2016. It was also one more Challenge League season. But since then Marchesano has been getting better and better. And more and more important for the FCZ. Now he says:
“Perhaps I will still have more motivation for a few years than someone who reached the top at the age of 18.”
Marchesano is the Zurich-based director who many in the game are geared towards. After 19 scorer points last season, he already has six goals and four assists on his account. He likes to admit to studying statistics from time to time.
What is to be made of this FCZ? «What we have achieved so far cannot be taken for granted. And certainly nothing would have been expected of us. But one thing is clear: the points we have are well deserved. ” So says Marchesano. Right now it feels like a “new, second career” for him.
The success of the FCZ is a story of the collective. From back to front, everyone contributes a longer part to this. The people of Zurich know what they can do. But they also know what they can’t – and just accept it.
Now and then a setback like in Basel or Bern? All the same. Rotate or compensate arrears during a game? It has long since become a Zurich trademark. Perhaps conceding one or two goals too many because of the risky way of playing? Is just the way.
The many adventures of the mature man
Fidan Aliti is one of those players who sometimes goes a little under the radar because the headlines belong to others. A year ago he switched from Kalmar to FCZ. Since then, he has played 44 of a possible 45 Super League games, always from the start.
As soon as the conversation with Aliti begins, Pado, the FCZ material manager, scurries by and shouts: “Aliti – the best! Always there for everyone! ” Sports director Marinko Jurendic later said: “You want a guy like him in the dressing room. He carries you away. He communicates a lot. He is a fighter by nature. And above all: He is at the service of the team. “
At the age of 20, Aliti played his first Super League games at FC Luzern, today’s opponent of FCZ. Markus Babbel is the name of his trainer, Rolf Fringer was head of sport. «I was convinced that I would prevail. It’s a shame, the situation didn’t develop as I had imagined, ”he says in retrospect.
Aliti moves on too. It will be five eventful years. Aliti gets to know four countries and leagues. From Sheriff Tiraspol (Moldova) via Slaven Belupo Koprivnica (Croatia) and KF Skenderbeu (Albania) to Kalmar (Sweden). With Sheriff and Skenderbeu, Aliti becomes champion, with Kalmar, on the other hand, he has to go to the barrage once (and in the process he scores a goal, the one to the rescue). I also had my first experiences in the Europa League with Skenderbeu. “
During this time, Aliti also became a Kosovar international. The same applies there: he never misses a game. “Now I am back in Switzerland as a mature man – and the FCZ has grown dear to my heart.”
Of course, Aliti is also enjoying the latest success. He even says: “One can and should dream. Because dreaming is beautiful. ” Only to then add: “But believe me: Just because things went well in the last few games doesn’t make anyone lose their heads here. We are now welcoming Lucerne – and this is the only game that counts. “