The new season of the French Football League is kicking off on August 9, with reigning champs Paris Saint-Germain hoping to keep their title. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the players and teams promising to bring thrills to the pitch.
Paris-Saint-Germain: King of the castle © AFP
Ligue 1 titleholder Paris Saint-Germain will fight to stay on top this season. To that end, PSG have added Uruguayan “serial goal scorer” Edinson Cavani to an already potent arsenal. While defending the title, they hope to inflict some damage in the Champions League.
Monaco: Eyes on the title © AFP
Monaco may have just been promoted to Ligue 1, but the Riviera squad is already considered the strongest contender to titleholder PSG. The reason? Monaco spent some €150 million on fresh talent, including €60 million on Colombian striker Radamel Falcao.
Marseille: Targeting the Champions League © AFP
Last season’s runner-up Olympique de Marseille hope to remain in the top three this time around and thus secure a ticket to the Champions League tournament. Marseille have signed Dimitri Payet to add some offensive spark that was missing in the previous campaign.
Lyon: Uphill battle ahead © AFP
Olympique Lyonnais finished third last season, but will likely struggle to repeat that feat. Defensive midfielder Clément Grenier has quickly risen to lead the squad, but the absence of Lisandro Lopez, Michel Bastos, Anthony Réveillère will be sorely felt.
Saint-Étienne: Pining for past glory © AFP
Saint-Étienne won the French League Cup last April, but the squad led by Christophe Galtier finished the season fifth overall and remains far from its 1970s glory days. It’s striving for recognition on the European level, despite losing star goal scorer P.E. Aubameyang.
Lille: Transition year © AFP
LOSC Lille turned a new page between seasons with the departure of coach Rudi Garcia and the arrival of René Girard. Having missed out on a European tournament, striker Salomon Kalou and his teammates hope to rebound in 2013.
Nice: Fluke or Fame? © AFP
The surprise dark horse last year, OGC Nice finished fourth overall, securing a spot in the Europa League tournament. Coach Claude Puel’s squad must now prove its success was not a pure stroke of luck and that it deserves its brand-new stadium, the Allianz Riviera.
Bordeaux: Keep the ball rolling © AFP
Bordeaux won the amateur/professional French Cup tournament last May, thus squeezing their way into the Europa League despite finishing Ligue 1 in seventh place. But with no significant reinforcements, Cédric Carrasso and Co. can hardly hope for better this time.
Rennes: Hope to turn the tide © AFP
Stade Rennais have suffered a long, slow decline for decades and finished the 2012-13 campaign in 13th place. They are betting on coach Philippe Montanier and the young Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira to turn things around.
Lorient: A breakthrough year? © AFP
The club from Brittany has received praise for playing top-level football with fairly limited means, and many think that with the steady hand of coach Christian Gourcuff and a little extra from players like Jeremiah Aliadiere, they can finally reach a European cup.
Date created : 2013-08-09