Bordeaux v Lens, Ligue 1, August 8, 2009
Laurent Blanc’s reigning champions Bordeaux close out the opening weekend of the new Ligue 1 by taking on newly promoted Lens at the Stade Chaban Delmas on Sunday night.
Some significant changes have taken place this summer to give Bordeaux a fresh face coming into the new year. The most important “signing” of the summer saw last season’s talisman for Les Girondins, France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, make his loan move from AC Milan permanent for a mere â‚¬13 million. Wearing the gloves, Laurent Blanc snapped up Toulouseâ€™s impressive goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso (â‚¬10 million) to replace the aging Ulrich Rame. And extra guile and creativity was brought into the midfield with the â‚¬3million arrival of Czech international midfielder Jaroslav Plasil from Osasuna.
With Marouane Chamakh still registered on the club’s books, the only major departure of the summer saw centre-half Souleymane Diawara move to Marsielle, but Blanc quickly move to plug that gap in his backline by signing Lorient’s center-back Michael Ciani.
With no injury worries to talk of, Bordeaux head into their curtain-raiser looking a settled a confident side, having had a strong pre-season in which they have beaten Marseille and Villarreal as well as winning against Guingamp in Montreal last week to defend the Trophee des Champions.
After their 2007/08 relegation, Lens needed just one year in Ligue 2 before bouncing back to the French top flight.
Manager Jean-Guy Wallemme has a team more than capable in staying up this season too, particularly in the forward’s department where Les Sang et Or boast Ivorian international striker Aruna Dindane and Tunisian forward Issam Jemaa.
Responsibility to supply the forwards fall on the broad shoulders on Serbian midfielder Dejan Milovanovic, who could well get on the scoresheet himself if presented with a free-kick on goal. While at the back, Mali centre-half Eric Chelle will take charge at marshalling the visitors defence.
Strange things can happen on the opening games of the new season, and with their tails up after Ligue 2 championship last year Lens maybe primed ot get off the mark and make some early waves in France against Bordeaux.
101predicts: Bordeaux 2 – Lens 2 (16/1)
Full match odds here.