Meet the Champions League defender out to drive Perth to glory

New Perth Glory signing Gregory Wuthrich Source: Perth Glory

Ten months ago, Gregory Wuthrich helped Young Boys topple Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, now the Swiss defender wants to help Perth Glory win a maiden A-League grand final.

Wuthrich swapped Switzerland for Western Australia last month, signing a one-year deal with the club. 

In December the centre-back was part of the Young Boys XI that upset the Italian giants in the Champions League. A double to striker Guillaume Hoarau ensured a famous victory for the Swiss Super League side.

Wuthrich was a late substitute in the match, where he lined up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic at the Stade de Suisse. 

It was a rare highlight in an injury-plagued season that limited him to only 18 appearances and saw him miss glamour European ties against Manchester United and Valencia.

“Oh man, that was crazy. I was so sad that I couldn’t play the other game, because of the injury, that hurt because we also had Manchester United in the group,” Wuthrich told The World Game.

“But yeah it was crazy to play against all the big names, a full stadium. It’s definitely something that I will remember for the rest of my life.” 

Wuthrich had spent his whole career at the Bern-based club, coming through the Young Boys academy and debuting for the first-team in 2014.

But now the 24-year-old has landed in Perth, as a replacement for Shane Lowry, and is ready to sample the A-League. 

“I like it so far. We have a great team,” Wuthrich said.

“The coach is good, the coaching staff, they’re very detailed. He (Tony Popovic) was a defender himself so that helps me a lot. I’m going to try to improve here, give the best I can and we will have a successful season.

“The quality of life is the same here [as in Switzerland]. The beach is very nice. We have the river in Bern, which is also nice. But it’s a big experience for me. 

“I had to travel 24 hours to get here. I’m thankful Dino [Djulbic] is here because he speaks German, that’s cool for me.”

Born in Bern, Wuthrich has been part of two title-winning campaigns with Young Boys. But the defender admits he needed a change of scenery away from home comforts, hence the move to join the Glory.

“I spent my whole life in Bern. I needed a change,” he explained. 

“I wanted to play more regularly because I lost my starting spot because I got injured last season. I started the season as a starter and did all of the Champions League qualification and then one day before the first Champions League game I injured myself. 

“Thank god I could play at least one game against Juventus, which was a great experience. This summer I wanted a new challenge and then my agent told me there was interest from Perth Glory. 

“I checked out everything, spoke with the coach and it was very interesting for me. The A-League, for me, is growing. It gets bigger every year. So I’m really happy to be here.

“I think it will be a great experience and I want to help the team. Unfortunately they lost the grand final last season, but they are a really good team and that’s why I wanted to join them.”

With experience of playing in the Champions League and Europa League, and with 11 appearances for Switzerland’s Under-20 and Under-21 national teams, Wuthrich hopes he can pass his knowledge on to his younger Glory teammates.

“I won two titles with Young Boys, I’ve played a lot of games in the Europa League,” he said.

“I played until the Under-21s with the Swiss national team. I’m here to help the team because I saw that they had a really good defence here last year, many clean sheets, and I think we can have the same results this year.”

Wuthrich admits the appeal of working under Perth coach Popovic, a former Socceroos central defender, was a strong pull to sign for the A-League club.

“My agent told me first that he was a player in England and a defender,” he said.

“I watched some clips of him on YouTube and when he introduced himself to me he told me a little bit about himself. After the conversation with him I was sold.

“He wants to help me to improve, to get better and give me playing time. I was happy.”