Adam Bailey previews Bordeaux’s third Europa League game of the season.
The bruises from an arduous start to the Ligue 1 campaign appeared to fade into Brittany sky on the left boot of Diego Rolan just over a fortnight ago. The Uruguayan’s 38th minute volley had given Bordeaux the lead against Lorient who boasted the third best home record in the division.
This was the consistency Willy Sagnol’s side needed after a 3-1 victory over Lyon and a hard fought point against Rubin Kazan a week later. This was the same zestful Bordeaux outfit that had sparked intrigue last term.
Two minutes into the second half, normality was restored. Benjamin Moukandjo nodded in the host’s equaliser and the 2,700 mile trip to Kazan just three days earlier began to tug on the legs of Sagnol’s men. Lorient went on to win the game 3-2 and Bordeaux were subjected to their third defeat of the season. A 0-0 draw against Montpellier after the international break did little to elevate spirits.
A side who have suffered similar discomfort in recent weeks visit the Stade de Bordeaux on Thursday night. FC Sion have lost their last three Swiss Super League fixtures and now sit a seemingly irrecoverable 16 points behind league leaders FC Basel.
The Europa League, however, has been a more romantic story for Didier Tholot. His side are yet to lose a game in Group B and will be hopeful of progressing from the group stages of the competition for the first time in their history. A 1-1 draw at Anfield at the beginning of the month strengthened belief in the Sion camp and the Swiss side will be looking to take advantage of the anxiety that has overcome their midweek opponents this season.
But Bordeaux have history on their side. The Frenchmen have never lost to Swiss opponents and must uphold that impressive record if they are to stand any chance of qualification.
Bordeaux welcomed midfielder Thomas Touré back from injury against Montpellier last weekend and the exciting young Ivorian could be named Sagnol’s starting eleven for the first time since August.
Gregory Sertic (cruciate ligament) remains unavailable.
FC Sion will be without striker Ilombe Mboyo as he continues to recover from a foot injury.
Bordeaux are in need of some vitality and 22-year-old Diego Rolan could be the man to provide it. The Uruguayan has struggled in front of goal this term, but his smart strike against Lorient proves that he has the ability to turn on the style. Rolan has completed 6 take-ons in Ligue 1 this season and will need to show some of that urgency going forward on Thursday night.
Sagnol’s men will have to be wary of Moussa Konate who has five goals and four assists in the Swiss Super League. The Senegalese forward has scored in both of Sion’s Europa League games and has been linked with switches to both Arsenal and Newcastle United.
Bordeaux need to kick start their season and in front of their own fans against a side that haven’t won in their last five games, Thursday night would be the perfect time to do just that.