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Preview: Bordeaux vs. Reims

Sports Mole previews the Ligue 1 clash between Bordeaux and Reims at the Stade de Bordeaux.

The Ligue 1 season begins on Sunday for Bordeaux and Reims as the teams face off at the Stade de Bordeaux.

Les Girondins finished in sixth place in Ligue 1 last season and will be determined to up their challenge for a place in the Champions League, while Reims narrowly avoided relegation last term.


Bordeaux's French head coach Willy Sagnol looks on prior to the French L1 football match Guingamp vs Bordeaux on September 14, 2014© Getty Images

Willy Sagnol's men will be looking to repeat their fine start to the last campaign as they reeled off three wins on the bounce, which included a 4-1 hammering of AS Monaco.

Bordeaux proved that they had the quality to mount a challenge for a place in the top three, but a patch of poor form in September and again between December and January halted their progress up the table.

Les Girondins rallied towards the end of the campaign with a five-match unbeaten run, but it was only just good enough to secure a place in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League. Meanwhile, they also struggled in the cup competitions, leaving an all-round improvement a must this season.

The club have not been very active in the transfer market over the summer in terms of additions as only midfielder Milan Gajic has arrived, but Emiliano Sala, Mariano and Julien Faubert all departed.

However, Sagnol still has a strong squad to work with in his second campaign as Henri Saivet, Diego Rolan and Cheick Diabate are all strong forward options, while Ludovic Sane and Gregory Sertic bring experience to the spine of the team.

Bordeaux have lost just once over the course of the summer and cruised into the next round of the Europa League courtesy of a 4-0 aggregate win over AEK Larnaca.

Les Girondins should be sharp for their opening fixture and have plenty of confidence following their success in Europe to start the campaign as strongly as they did last year.

Recent form: LDDWWW


Reim's players celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Evian and Reims on May 9, 2015© Getty Images

Olivier Guegan's men almost had a dream start to the last campaign when they held a 2-1 lead over Paris Saint-Germain only to be denied a win by an equaliser from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The draw appeared to hold them back as they failed to record a win until September.

Reims looked on course for a mid-table finish as they produced a strong run of form between October and November going on a seven-match unbeaten streak, which included four victories.

However, a poor second half of the campaign put them in trouble as they won just once in 13 matches which culminated in the departure of Jean-Luc Vasseur. Guegan managed to do enough to keep the club in the top flight, but concerns will remain for the club's supporters.

Frederic Bulot arrived in the summer from Standard Liege after an impressive loan spell with Charlton Athletic in the Championship. Defender Hamari Traore also completed a move from Lierse SK, while Benjamin Moukandjo was the only major departure as he joined Lorient.

Reims played just three friendly matches over the course of the summer as they opened with a draw against Lorient before losing 2-1 at home to Sevilla. Guegan's men wrapped up their pre-season with a 2-0 victory over Guingamp.

Expectations will be limited for Reims in the campaign following their inconsistent displays last term, and supporters may just be hopeful to avoid a relegation battle.

Recent form: WWLDLW

Team News

Bordeaux's players celebrate after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Bordeaux and Nantes on may 9, 2015© Getty Images

Diabate missed the second leg of his side's win over Larnaca during the week as Sagnol took the decision to rest the forward ahead of the opener. The striker is expected to lead the line for Bordeaux, but his partner up front Rolan is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Thomas Toure or Isaac Thelin are in line to replace the Uruguayan alongside Diabate, while Sertic will start in the middle of the defence for Sagnol's men in place of the injured Sane. Jaroslav Plasil could also miss the match due to injury, but Gajic could make his league debut at right-back.

Midfielder Diego is the only notable absentee for Reims for the match as Alexi Peuget is on standby to replace him in front of the back four. Bulot could take the place of the departed Moukandjo on the flank to make his league debut.

David N'Gog is likely to lead the line on his own for Guegan's men, with Nicolas de Preville and Bulot in support in the wide areas.

Bordeaux possible starting lineup:
Carrasso; Gajic, Pallois, Sertic, Poundje; Poko, Chantome, Khazri; Saivet, Diabate, Toure

Reims possible starting lineup:
Agassa; Traore, Mandi, Weber, Signorino; Peguet; Preville, Devaux, Oniangue, Bulot; N'Gog

Head To Head

In the last meeting between the teams Gaetan Charbonnier scored an equaliser for Reims to cancel out Thelin's opener as the clash ended 1-1 in Bordeaux.

Earlier in the season Reims recorded a 1-0 victory at the Stade Auguste-Delaune thanks to an own goal from Julien Faubert.

Over the course of history, Reims hold a 2-1 advantage in victories over Les Girondins, while four of the matches have ended in draws.

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We say: Bordeaux 2-1 Reims

Bordeaux have played well through pre-season and the early stages of their Europa League campaign. They look up to match sharpness already, but that does not always translate into success in the league and they may find life tougher than expected against Reims.

However, they have enough quality on the pitch to secure a narrow victory.

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Bordeaux's Uruguyan forward Diego Rolan, Bordeaux's Czech midfielder Jaroslav Plasil and Lorient's Gabonese midielder Ndong Ibrahim Didier (C) play the ball during the French L1 football match between FC Lorient and FC Girondins de Bordeaux on May 2, 2015
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Result: Bordeaux held by struggling Lorient

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