Coupe de France Preview: Girondins de Bordeaux v Toulouse FC

As the winter break comes to an end French football returns with the Coupe de France. The Ligue 1 teams are now in the competition and given how Guingamp surprised everyone last season, both Bordeaux and Toulouse will be feeling confident of a cup run this season. The home side enjoyed an excellent start to the Ligue 1 campaign, with many hailing new manager Willy Sagnol as a genius but recently the rookie manager has…

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Coupe de France Preview: Lusitanos Saint-Maur v Stade de Reims

As one of six true minnows left in the Coupe de France – they play in the Division d’Honneur, a regional amateur league five full flights below Ligue 1 – Lusitanos Saint-Maur are an easy team to wish well. It’s not only their underdog status, though, that makes them appealing. They’ve also got an unusual background and an impressively loyal coach, and can boast some truly impressive results over the past couple of years. Founded…

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Coupe de France Preview: USL Dunkerque v Stade Rennais

USL Dunkerque’s is a long story of up and downs. A long-term resident of France’s second division, the team from the Nord has been a regular victim of erratic management and off-pitch issues. Since their last collapse in 2010, however, Dunkerque have restructured themselves efficiently, and they are charging back up the French football pecking order with a vengeance. From the fifth tier (CFA2) in summer 2010, Dunkerque only needed three seasons to extract themselves…

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Coupe de France Preview: Dinan-Léhon vs EA Guingamp

When fifth-tier (CFA2) Dinan-Léhon’s players gathered to listen to the Coupe de France round 9 draw on the radio, they only had one wish: to face Breton and Cotes d’Armor neighbour En Avant Guingamp. And when the good news arrived, the joy in Dinan’s dressing room was to the measure of the task ahead. Dinan coach Jean-Jacques Houzé, a former Guingamp player himself, summed up the general feeling: “I am happy to face Guingamp, the…

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Coupe de France Preview: FC Nantes v Club Franciscain

The beauty of the Coupe de France is embodied in no other game more than Saturday’s anticipated fixture between FC Nantes and Club Franciscain of Martinique. One of the quirks most liked in France’s premier club competition is the inclusion of Outre-mer (overseas department) clubs. And Saturday sees the visitors travel to the Stade de la Beaujoire to take on a Nantes side riding high in Ligue 1. The enthusiasm from the Franciscain players remains…

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Coupe de France Preview: AS Saint-Etienne v AS Nancy

Pablo Correa, in charge of Nancy for what seems like the 100th time, takes his side to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Sunday and the Ligue 2 side should be full of optimism of causing a shock, although current form will have them worried. Despite sitting in sixth place, well within reach of the promotion places, it has all gone suddenly downhill. In November, ASNL were enjoying a nine-game unbeaten run, but then an injury time winner…

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Coupe de France Preview: SC Bastia v Lille OSC

Saturday’s marquee game in the Coupe de France has the potential to be a relative shock. Lille may be the bigger name in the competition, but although six places separate the two Ligue 1 sides, there are only three points between them. Lille have won two of the last three meetings at the Stade Armand Cesari, but the sides drew 1-1 the last time they met in May. Times have changed massively since they last played and both…

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Coupe de France Preview – Montpellier v PSG

When this fixture was drawn out of the hat, it may have put something of a spanner in Laurent Blanc’s selection plans for the new year. PSG have six fixtures in January, including both cups, and five in February, including the Champions League, with the possibility of another in January and two more in February depending how their cup runs go. That could mean 14 games in eight weeks, so getting another Ligue 1 team…

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