Three games in Switzerland including Basel’s visit to St Gallen and a trip to the new stadium in Wil.
After the smoke clears - its a draw.
3rd August 2013 St Gallen 1 Basel 1 Swiss Super League 16,468 (c. 800 away)
St Gallen moved to the AGF Arena about four years ago.
A fifteen minute (free) bus ride west of the city it provides compact, covered accommodation with terrace sections for the home and away ultras.
Both sets provided plenty of (multicoloured) smoke and flares.
Often the ground was partially obscured.
The best action on the pitch was at the Basel end as St Gallen pressed forward.
A Karanovic header, well saved by Sommer, was followed later by an error by the goalie that should have been punished.
A goal line stop saved his blushes.
Mathys also went close before Basel went ahead, against the run of play, when Xhaka shot into the corner.
But eventually the home pressure told as Janjatovic volleyed in a Basel clearance for the deserved equaliser.
Overall the match had too many misplaced long balls and you felt Basel were overly cautious, relying on opportunities to arrive, which up to a point they did.
The late action perked up the contest, as did the ubiquitous pyro.
4th August 2013 Wil 2 Vaduz 1 Challenge League 2,385 (c. 80 away)
‘Footballs coming home’ announced the Wil ultras banner.
And Wil are back home in their redeveloped stadium with its neat rows of open terrace (no requirement for an all-seater here) that shone in the bright Spanish-like sunshine.
The home ultras, also noisily evident in the old town, did their thing and there was a decent number of fans from Vaduz behind the other goal.
The artificial pitch prompted passing and Wil did OK although at times both sides were guilty of too many mistakes.
One such error led to a penalty for the home side, but Macedonian striker Jahovic’s shot was saved.
Earlier he had given Wil the lead from a right wing cross.
That was equalised by North Korean Pak who converted a left wing cross at the second attempt
It is not too often you see a European match with North Koreans on both sides (right back Cha was in the home side)
Substitute Bozic, again following a goalie misadventure. shot in from a narrow angle for the winner.
Back in St Gallen I enjoyed a weizen beer, some Nasi Goreng and a caipirinha.
Incidentally there is a superb caipirinha bar near Marktplatz that supplies a production line of the Brazilian cocktail - a mega jar for 45 chf is an option (with extra straws)
Parity in Wohlen.
5th August Wohlen 1 Lugano 1 Challenge League 1,500 (c. 20 away)
From St Gallen to Zurich then on via Lenzburg (with its impressive castle) to Wohlen.
Which was quiet on this Monday evening.
The local stadium, a fifteen minute stroll from the centre, comprises a single stand with plenty of room for expansion around the perimeter.
A small group from Lugano fans waved their flags in the second half behind one goal.
Their team played better possession football although the home side were always dangerous from set pieces.
Mattia Bottani was a lively forward for the visitors.
Wohlen finally went ahead on eighty minutes when Paiva converted after the Lugano goalie had parried a Cardiello shot.
But Lugano got their deserved leveller when Serbian sub. Dubajic got up to nicely convert a penalty after being fouled.
On a warm evening, despite some lightning in the background, the storms stayed away.
I selected beer for the return journey to Zurich.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/2022416556