FC Metz v Stade Brestois 29: Coupe de France Preview
Last season FC Metz were deservedly crowned Ligue 2 champions, winning the league by eleven points and losing just six games. However, the transition from Ligue 2 to football at France’s highest level hasn’t gone as smoothly as either Les Messins’ coach Albert Cartier or their supporters would have hoped at the beginning of the current league campaign.
Cartier’s side are currently anchored at the bottom of the Ligue 1 table, with the lanterne rouge side four points from safety. On Thursday night FC Metz welcome Stade Brestois 29 to the Stade Saint-Symphorien and the home outfit will be hoping for a victory which would send them through to the Coupe de France quarter-final, an achievement that would be bound to give them and their supporters a much-needed boost.
In their first cup fixture of the season, the men from the Moselle had to come from behind to beat National side Épinal by two goals to one in the competition’s ninth-round. Épinal have struggled this season in France’s third tier and look set for relegation to the CFA, so the 2-1 scoreline was far from convincing. In their most recent Coupe de France fixture, Cartier’s side once again struggled against National opposition, as Avranches held Metz to a goalless draw over 90 minutes, before the Ligue 1 side proved too strong for their third-division opponents in extra-time, scoring three goals to book their place in the last 16.
Metz will find in Alex Dupont’s Brest side a well-regimented and disciplined outfit that, if they stay true to the form they have shown this season, will not be likely to give much away to their opponents. The Bretons are enjoying an impressive Ligue 2 season, currently sitting in second place. Despite becoming well-known for their defensive prowess, having conceded just twelve goals this season, Les Brestois made some important offensive signings in the recent January window, giving them another dimension to their game that Cartier’s side will have to be wary of.
The Bretons recently added strikers Youssef Adnane and Gaëtan Courtet to their ranks, with the creative midfielder Bruno Grougi and forward Alexandre Alphonse (both of whom may miss the game through injury) already posing goal threats. Thursday night’s game will serve Brest with the perfect opportunity to show that they are capable of making the step up to Ligue 1 next season, should they manage to hold onto a promotion place.
Despite home advantage and the expectations already placed upon them as a result of their Ligue 1 status, Thursday night’s match won’t be an easy task for FC Metz. In Brest they will face a well-organised side with their own promotion ambitions, so it’s clear that the Ligue 2 club will be no pushovers. If Metz are to progress to the next round, they will need a big performance from one of their attacking players, Madibo Maiga, Yeni N’Gbakoto or Juan Falcon. It is certain that the Brest defence, which includes the likes of Simon Falette, Wilfried Moimbé and Ismaël Traoré, will provide FC Metz with a collective obstacle that will be extremely difficult for the home side to overcome.