It’s a name that may mean nothing to you. In any case, it is a team that the Principality club has never faced in its entire history. However, FC Saint-Gallen was already 45 years old when AS Monaco was created in 1924. An institution in Switzerland, despite a middling record against giant sides FC Basel and Young Boys of Bern, the team which finished fifth in the last Super League season has a case to make. So here arte a few things to know about the next opponent for our Rouge et Blanc Wednesday in a friendly at La Turbie (kick-off 6 p.m.). Our thanks go to Ugo Curty, journalist for the Swiss daily Blick for his help in preparing these facts.
The oldest Swiss Club
FC Saint-Gallen, named after their home city in northeastern Switzerland, very close to the German border, is the oldest club in the country. The team was created in 1879, under the name of FC St. Gallen, before being merged with two other sides. Despite this longevity, it does not have an impressive history, having only been crowned champion twice, with nearly a hundred years between the two trophies: 1904 and 2000. To these two titles one can add a Swiss Cup (1969)… and a fiery audience!
A former Monegaque who played at Saint-Gallen
This is something, you had surely missed! A former AS Monaco player played for the Swiss club during his time in the Principality. This is… Edgar Salli! The Cameroonian attacking midfielder, who is currently playing for a Cypriot team, was loaned to FCG for the 2015-2016 season. He recorded eight goals and five assists in 28 appearances — not bad!
Second place in the Super League in 2020
Despite a fairly barren trophy cabinet, Saint-Gallen has recently played the spoiler in the Swiss league. Led by the team’s current coach, Peter Zeidler, the “Embroiderers” – St. Gallen is historically considered the city of textiles – finished in a strong second place in 2020. They were unfortunately eliminated in the Europa League play-offs by the AEK Athens, and could not realize their dream of playing in Europe the following season.
A former coach of Tours, Salzburg and Sochaux
“Peter Zeidler is a very charismatic person. He is a former French teacher, a great lover of this language, which means that he really likes talking with French-speaking journalists here in Switzerland,” explains Ugo Curty, journalist at the daily Blick. “He has a charming side that makes him very popular with journalists, but also with the fans. He manages his communication very well. He is a coach who produces a good style of play, who often has a young and spectacular team. He has been an important figure in the Swiss league for almost six years.”
The players to watch
“I would first look at central defender Leonidas Stergiou. At only 20 years old, he had his first call-up for the national team against Portugal in the Nations League in June. And what is quite crazy is that at his age, he has already played 104 top flight matches with Saint-Gallen,” says Ugo Curty. “He has a lot of promise! I am also thinking of the Geneva-born striker, Jérémy Guillemenot, who left very early for Barça, without succeeding in imposing himself there. He has more recently impressed here in St. Gallen. He is a player who gets stuck in quie a lot, he is quite vicious in the box. He is very elegant and really clever in his play, even if his stats last season weren’t incredible (9 goals, 3 assists). And then there’s the Spaniard Jordi Quintillà, a kind of old-school regista, who is enjoyable to watch too. He was also trained at Barça.”
The latest recruit
It’s fresh, it just became official on Tuesday, as St. Gallen brought in a promising player from the Austrian league:
— FC St.Gallen 1879 GRÜEWISS IM HERZ (@FCSG_1879) June 27, 2022
A 4-3-3 tactical approach
“At Saint-Gallen there is really this desire to play very high, applying suffocating pressure to prevent the opponent’s recovery. It’s really their style of play. There are a lot of high-intensity runs, and passing, which makes it a very popular team. Because behind there is also a desire for verticality as soon as the ball is recovered, with in particular the technical quality of Jordi Quintillà in the first pass”, explains Ugo Curty.
“The full-backs play very high, especially Isaac Schmidt on the left, who is highly rated. Last season, the team unfortunately started very poorly, and dropped to the bottom of the table. And then with good recruitment, they managed to turn in a great second half, even qualifying for the Swiss Cup final. They were favorites against Lugano in the game, which was very spectacular, and their form at the moment, but they lost. It was a big disappointment ahead of this season.”
They beat an amateur club 25-0 in a friendly
For the record, more than for your general knowledge, Saint-Gallen recently won, on June 20 a friendly match by the score of 25-0, against amateur club FC Urnäsch, who play in the fourth division. It was a match which was all the same marked by a penalty save from the opposing goalkeeper… following a bit of simulation by Jérémy Guillemenot!
— FC St.Gallen 1879 GRÜEWISS IM HERZ (@FCSG_1879) June 19, 2022
Photos: Icon Sport