RC Strasbourg Alsace head to Girondins de Bordeaux on Friday night in high spirits after beating league leaders Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 last Saturday.
Girondins de Bordeaux – RC Strasbourg Alsace
Strasbourg were promoted at the end of last season, ending a decade without top-flight football for the 1979 French champions, but a swift return to the second tier looked to be on the horizon with Le Racing spending all but three of the current campaign’s first 13 weeks in the relegation places.
Slowly but surely Thierry Laurey’s men have begun to turn things around, though, and they stunned Ligue 1 Conforama leaders PSG last weekend, with Nuno da Costa and Stéphane Bahoken scoring to drown out Kylian Mbappé’s goal for the capital club. Strasbourg now have eight points from their last four games, and the coach is understandably upbeat.
“We played well. We had a bit of luck, and we must acknowledge that. It was a close-run thing,” said Laurey, briefly a defender with Paris in 1990. “To beat such a team, all the stars have to align and you have to exceed your limits.”
Watch: Highlights of Strasbourg’s stunning upset win over PSG!
Da Costa’s star has been shining brighter than most in recent weeks. The Cape Verdean was playing in the third tier for Valenciennes FC two short seasons ago, but a goal and an assist against PSG means he now has four top-flight strikes to his name.
“The boys played great,” concluded Laurey. “They battled like lions, I’m very proud to be their coach. If we don’t get carried away, we can think about staying up. Not because we have beaten Paris, but because we’re improving.”
Da Costa should lead the line against Bordeaux, but Anthony Gonçalves (rib), Benjamin Corgnet (thigh) and Pablo Martinez (Achilles tendon) are among those missing for the trip to the Matmut Atlantique.
Those absences pale in comparison to the hosts’, with top scorer Malcom looking increasingly likely to join Igor Lewczuk (knee) and Gaëtan Laborde (foot) on the sidelines for Les Girondins. The Brazilian winger scored one of the goals of the season in the 3-2 loss to Dijon FCO last Friday, but Laurey’s opposite number Jocelyn Gourvennec is not convinced he can play.
Watch: Highlights of Bordeaux’s 3-2 loss at Dijon, including a Malcom wonder-goal from 1:32!
“Malcom has twisted his ankle and he’s a real doubt for Friday,” lamented the Bordeaux coach. “We’ll see how it develops, but it’s not looking good.”
The Dijon game rather encapsulated Bordeaux’s season so far. FCGB were third having gone unbeaten in their first seven Ligue 1 Conforama games this term, but with just five points in their last nine fixtures, they now have only two more points than their upwardly-mobile visitors.
“We’re losing mainly because of defensive mistakes in simple situations,” said Gourvennec. “Of course, I’m disappointed. Malcom scored a fantastic goal just after the Dijon equaliser, and we had some chances to take a bigger lead. We gave in at the end, and if we want to play for the European places we must be more rigorous.”
Bordeaux: To follow…
Strasbourg: To follow…