Having overcome difficult opponents Crvena Zvezda in the Europa League play-offs, Bordeaux aim to kick off their group stage campaign with a comfortable victory over Club Brugge. The Belgian side had no problems against Debrecen in the previous round, but they could find it hard to match les Girondins without a number of first team regulars.
Bordeaux still unbeaten
Bordeaux have experienced several very difficult years following the Ligue 1 triumph in 2008/2009, but les Girondins are slowly returning to where they belong. The six-match winning run at the end of last league campaign ensured the Stade Chaban-Delmas outfit qualify for the Europa League, while the 3-2 aggregate win over Serbian giants Crvena Zvezda saw them make it to the group stages. Les Girondins showed a lot of character in the play-off second leg, having come from a goal behind to record a 3-2 victory despite playing with ten men for forty minutes. The mere fact coach Francois Gillot had field his strongest line-up in that game proves that Bordeaux are keen on some European success and I have no doubts the hosts will take the Club Brugge game very seriously as well. The international break has done the team a lot of good after the hectic schedule at the start of the season and we should see another strong performance from les Girondins.
Lamine Sane returns from domestic suspension, while Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Matthieu Chalme, Kevin Olimpa and David Bellion remain sidelined.
Genuine selection headache for Georges Leekens
The second-place finish in Belgian Jupiler Pro League saw Club Brugge enter Champions League qualifying stages, but FCB have fallen at the first hurdle. The Belgian side entered Europa League play-offs after they were eliminated from Europe’s elite competition by FC Copenhagen, and they had an easy job against Hungarian side Debrecen. Meanwhile, Brugge enjoyed a bright start to their league campaign, winning 5 of their first 7 games, but that still doesn’t mean the visitors have plenty of reason for optimism before the clash with Bordeaux. Even at full strength, the Belgian would struggle to match one of best Ligue 1 sides, and FCB will not be even near to full strength. Coach Georges Leekens has a number of very important missings, which is going to seriously damage team’s chances in this clash.
Top scorer Lior Refaelov, starting centre-backs Ryan Donk and Jim Larsen, and first team regulars Fredrik Stenman, Niki Zimling and Ivan Trickovski are all out through injury.
Bordeaux are playing great football this season and they have already shown they plan to take this competition very seriously. Club Brugge, on the other hand, have been pretty convincing in weak Belgian league, but they face an uphill task of trying to get something from Stade Chaban-Delmas without half of the starting line-up.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 1.67 (2/3)
Bookmaker: Paddy Power