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Bordeaux facing tough test at Marseille

Bordeaux facing tough test at Marseille

Defending champion Bordeaux faces a tough test at Marseille, which can move ahead of the French league leaders with a victory Sunday at Stade Velodrome.
"This is the game everybody is waiting for," Marseille defender Taye Taiwo said. "The match of the year."
Marseille was forced to play his first home game in Montpellier earlier this month because of an accident that killed two workers at its stadium in July before a scheduled Madonna concert. A new lawn has since been laid at the Velodrome.
Last season, Bordeaux clinched the title for the first time since 1999 on the last day _ three points ahead of runner-up Marseille _ ending Lyon's seven-year dominance in France and bringing some fresh air in a league often seen as boring.
The team coached by former World Cup winner Laurent Blanc has maintained its impressive pace by winning its first three games. Now, Bordeaux will be looking for a 15th straight win at Marseille. Bordeaux, with nine points from three games, is two points ahead of Marseille.
After winning the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship as teammates, Blanc and Marseille coach Didier Deschamps will face each other as managers for the first time.
Deschamps has spent nearly ⁈lion ($57 million) to create a team capable to counter Bordeaux's ambitions, notably recruiting Gabriel Heinze from Real Madrid and Souleymane Diawara from Bordeaux. Facing Bordeaux's formidable striking force, those two players' performance will be crucial in Sunday's outcome, especially if France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff maintains his astonishing form.
The 22-year-old Gourcuff, who moved to the top of the league scoring chart with two goals in Bordeaux's 4-0 win over Nice last week, doesn't believe Sunday's match will be decisive in the title race.
"The game comes too soon for it to be a turning point," Gourcuff said. "Marseille have a very good side, and a coach that knows the highest level of the game very well. He has that experience, but so does our coach. It's going to be a great game as they've had a good start to the season, too."
Against Bordeaux, the only team to have won all of its first three matches, Deschamps is likely to be without midfielder Lucho Gonzalez. The Argentine player has missed the first three games of the season after breaking his collarbone.
"I don't think Lucho will make it," Deschamps said. "His collarbone still hasn't healed fully."
But Striker Bakari Kone, who didn't play at Rennes, is expected to be back.
With Lyon's wise recruitment, suspense is expected in the French league this year again. The team coached by Claude Puel is currently second in the standings ahead of a match against Nancy on Saturday.
Lyon has reached the group stage of the Champions League for the 10th straight season, beating Anderlecht 3-1 with three goals by new striker Lisandro Lopez for an 8-2 aggregate victory. Lisandro's clinical efficiency has eclipsed Karim Benzema, who left during the offseason for Real Madrid.
"I want to see how this team can perform on the long term," Puel said after routing Anderlecht. "Now, we have to think about Nancy. It would be a shame not to be ready at home."
Also Saturday, it's: Boulogne vs. Auxerre; Lens vs. Rennes; Lorient vs. Le Mans; Nice vs. Montpellier; Saint-Etienne vs. Grenoble; and Sochaux vs. Monaco.
Paris Saint-Germain plays Lille and Valenciennes plays at Toulouse in Sunday's other games.


Updated : 2021-05-07 22:11 GMT+08:00