Europa League – FC Nantes returns to Europe after two decades of abstinence

Europa League – FC Nantes returns to Europe after two decades of abstinence

The very last time FC Nantes appeared on the European scene was in August 2004. A 2-1 victory in the semi-final second leg of the Intertoto Cup was insufficient to win against the Czechs of Slovan Liberec. And for the big posters, we have to go back to the 2001-2002 season, the one after the last title in the league. Nantes had finished top of their first Champions League group in the fall ahead of Galatasaray, PSV Eindhoven and Lazio Rome, before sinking in a second group stage between November and March, last behind Manchester United, the Bayern Munich and Boavista.

Since then, the FCN has more often flirted with relegation, including with a team quite similar to the current one just over a year ago, than with European places. For this big comeback, the supporters were a little disappointed with the draw: rather than the shock hoped for with a cador like Arsenal, Manchester United or AS Roma, the Canaries will rub shoulders with Olympiakos, Friborg and Qarabag. This may explain why the stadium will be well stocked but not necessarily sold out, when everything was sold out very quickly for the reception of PSG on Saturday.

League 1

Messi’s recital, Marseille rotation and staining red: The tops and flops

09/05/2022 At 00:06

Has Neymar ever been so strong with PSG?

Coach Antoine Kombouaré saw in this draw an opening, the possibility for Nantes’ “little Thumb” to do well, especially since 3rd place qualifies for a play-off in the Europa League Conference in February: “There is a shot to play”, he repeats. You don’t even need a big name for the task to be tough: Freiburg is currently the leader of the Bundesliga after 5 days, while Olympiakos and Qarabag are great regulars in European cups, and often even in the top category for the Greeks.

This summer, Olympiakos missed the march, sounded by a 4-0 defeat at home against Maccabi Haifa in the second qualifying round for the Champions League. But coach Carlos Corberan has clearly displayed the objective of 1st place in the group, and he has a much more experienced squad than Nantes. Thus, the 24 Canaries registered by UEFA for this campaign total 160 European matches, a level which Olympiakos midfielder Matthieu Valbuena approaches on his own (129), not to mention the 102 matches and the 5 titles of Marcelo’s Champions League, even if the Brazilian side, who arrived at the very end of the transfer window and still out of shape, was not retained in the group.

“This PSG is still too light to aim for the final victory”

The executives stayed

For his first European campaign, Waldemar Kita, who in 2007 bought FC Nantes just relegated to Ligue 2, promised to take out the checkbook to ensure adequate recruitment. But between the players who are too expensive, those who were not interested and those whom Kombouaré refused, the group seems ill equipped for the marathon of matches which promises to be until mid-November.

Admittedly, Alban Lafont, Moses Simon and Ludovic Blas have remained, and the four summer recruits are promising, starting with the Egyptian Mostafa Mohamed, but the team risks lacking bench depth, especially in the event of injury. . And a wink of fate, the Canaries will meet Thursday against South Korean striker Hwang Ui-Jo, whom Kombouaré ardently wanted to bring to Nantes this summer.

League 1

Neymar, or the art of management by Galtier

09/03/2022 At 10:38 PM

League 1

Mbappé and PSG in total control

03/09/2022 At 20:51

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.