Guaranteed to remain 4th at the end of the 25th day of Ligue 1, Racing can take a little more lead during its trip to Saint-Etienne on Sunday (3 p.m.).
How far can Strasbourg go? Surprising fourth in Ligue 1, Racing is stringing together high-flying performances, with its best total of points scored at this stage since the 1978-1979 season, and can even eye the podium, provided it continues on Sunday (3 p.m.) at Saint -Etienne.
A clever recruitment
To find the Alsatian club with so many points at mid-season, we must go back to the memorable 1978-1979 season, when Racing was crowned champion of France, recall the statisticians of Opta. One of the keys to Strasbourg’s fine season lies in the recruitment carried out in the off-season, particularly in defence. In difficulty last season, Stefan Mitrovic and Lamine Koné were replaced advantageously by the Marseillais Lucas Perrin and the Rennais Gerzino Nyamsi in central hinge.
Racing has also recomposed its right flank with the arrival of Polish Karol Fila and the return of Frédéric Guilbert. Free arrival from Valencia, the flagship rookie Kévin Gameiro has made a successful return to his training club, having already scored nine goals since the start of the season. In total, the Alsatian club recruited at a lower cost and disbursed 3 million euros (1.5 million euros for Nyamsi, same sum for Fila), relying mainly on loans (Perrin, Aholou, Guilbert). « The club did the maximum with its means today and worked well“, summed up coach Julien Stéphan in the Latest News from Alsace in September.
A soothing trainer
When he signed for Strasbourg for three years last May, Stéphan discovered « a group that didn’t have much confidence“, a team undermined after a grueling season concluded by a maintenance at the last day. The Strasbourg coach therefore set about « let players think they have more qualities than they can imagine“, as he confided before the match in Angers.
The speech bore fruit since, nine months later, Strasbourg finds itself at the foot of the podium, displaying confidence in attack and great defensive serenity. The RCSA also remains on two meetings without conceding a goal (victories 1-0 against Nantes and Angers), displaying control if not spectacular.
« A team that wants to be very complete must be very solid throughout the game. Making the team progress is also making it harder to attack“, underlined Stéphan before the trip to Saint-Etienne.
A fearsome attack
Second attack of the championship with 46 goals, a record for the club after 24 days, Racing has in its ranks one of the most prolific attacking quartets in Europe, behind Manchester City. A remarkable performance for the Alsatian club, which has relied on efficient attackers in turn since the start of the season. Thus, the top scorer of Strasbourg Ludovic Ajorque (10 goals), silent since the 20th day, was replaced by Kévin Gameiro, author of five of his nine goals in the last six meetings.
« That’s why we’re fourth. Almost anyone can score, even defenders“, launched Habib Diallo (8 goals), the Senegalese striker. Back from the CAN after a month’s absence, he is ahead of midfielder Adrien Thomasson (7 goals) in the ranking of the RCSA’s top scorers. « From the start, we had said that we would need everyone throughout the season. It is in this sense that we have built the group, and all the players are aware that they will have the opportunity to express themselves at one time or another during the season.concludes Julien Stéphan.