Switzerland international Hakan Yakin was one of the very few players who have shined in the Swiss league so far. Disaster was just about averted in the spring as, under Rolf Fringer, they battled their way into a relegation/promotion play-off, beating FC Lugano 5-1 over two legs to cling onto their top-flight place. That summer, the 1988/89 Swiss champions pulled off a major coup in persuading playmaker Hakan Yakin to move to central Switzerland and since then, the only way has been up.

Aftera respectable fourth-placed finish last season, Fringer's side enjoyed an impressive autumn and entered the winter break a point clear of FC Basel 1893 at the top of the table. As the 53-year-old Fringer is fond of saying: "We have to work hard for everything, but if we do, we will be rewarded." This season, his ever-industrious charges seem to have been working harder than ever, with marquee results including a 4-1 win at Basel on 14 August in which Yakin scored twice. ""We have played a half-season which went almost perfectly"," said Yakin, who won the 2002 title at Basel and, at 33, has been capped 86 times by Switzerland.