Ligue 1 Top Spot Up For Grabs

By Ryan Fleming

Oh, how the mighty fall. After losing their first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal to fellow French rival, Lyon, Bordeaux now finds itself out of the pole position in Ligue 1 after suffering three-straight defeats.

Last weekend, the French giant slipped up against AS Nancy Lorraine, 2-1, despite controlling play throughout the match – owning 71 percent of possession. Fernando Cavenaghi tallied for Bordeaux, tying the match at one, but Issiar Dia put the northern France side up for good in the 72nd minute.

Cavenaghi was one of Bordeaux’s best players last year, but this year he has been nearly invisible – only starting in 11 matches compared with last years 23.  Yoann Gourcuff, another Bordeaux star, has just returned to the spectacular form  the young French international has been known for. If the side from southern France even dares to dream of beating Lyon in the second leg and capturing the league title, Cavenaghi and Gourcuff, especially, will have to be the stars their fans know they can be.

Yes, things look quite bleak for last years Ligue 1 champ right now, but all is not lost.

Despite losing 3-1 to Lyon in last week’s CL tie, Bordeaux plays the second leg this Wednesday at home at the Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas against a Lyon side that will not be able match the strength and passion it diplayed just a week ago. Lyon will be without Lisandro Lopez, who scored two goals in the all-Ligue 1, CL match-up and Sidney Govou.

Adding to the excitement of the second leg will be the addition of Alou Diarra who will be back from suspension in time to try and see the home side through.

In regards to gaining the top spot back within the league, Bordeaux has played two less games than table leader, Lyon and only trail them by one point.

To give you an idea of how close the Ligue 1 title race is this year, only three points separate the top six teams. Lyon holds to top spot with a goal differential of 19, while Montpellier, AJ Auxerre, Bordeaux, Marseille and Lille are sneaking right behind – waiting for any team to slip up.

With such a tight race at hand, all the games are so vital and truly exciting. With teams like Lyon and Bordeaux, who are still in European play, it will be interesting to see if fatigue and other factors that come from playing in European competition affect the French giants.

Ryan Fleming is a editor and a contributing writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at

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