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PSG, OM, Lens...The notebook of French clubs in European Cups


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PSG, OM, Lens...The notebook of French clubs in European Cups

Frustrating. Paris Saint-Germain has had a (very) mixed performance in the Champions League this season. Present in “the group of death”, the Rouge et Bleu qualified for the round of 16 in pain, notably by snatching a precious point at home in the final moments of added time against Newcastle United (1-1) . During the direct elimination phase, they (logically) dismissed Real Sociedad (2-0; 1-2). A formality given the difference in level between the two teams. On the other hand, they were then put in difficulty against FC Barcelona which they finally got out thanks to a return match played in numerical superiority for more than a half (2-3; 1-4). Then in the semi-finals, against Borussia Dortmund who were well within their reach on paper, Luis Enrique and his men lost twice (1-0; 0-1) - without really putting in all the ingredients to win - , seeing their dream of the final disappear. A qualification in the last four, a (slightly) bitter elimination and five defeats on the clock...the record is not bad, but it is not very good either given the context.

Honest. Back in the Champions League after twenty-one years of waiting, RC Lens has nothing to be ashamed of its journey in the most beautiful of European competitions. Far from there. The Sang et Or obtained, at home, two successes which will mark the history of the club, against Arsenal (2-1) and Sevilla FC (2-1). However, not enough to see the round of 16. Reversed in the Europa League play-offs, Franck Haise and his players were unable to transcend themselves, as they had done in C1. They were eliminated by SC Friborg (0-0; 3-2 after extra time). Disappointing. We could legitimately hope for better from the artesian team. She had (perhaps) the capacity to have a good run in C3.

SEE ALSO - Real Madrid: Florentino Pérez congratulates Carlo Ancelotti and the players after qualifying for the Champions League final

Almost unexpected. When we look at the season of Olympique de Marseille, with (among other things) the succession of coaches and checkered results, it was difficult to imagine it in the last four of a European Cup. Especially since everything started badly for the Phocaeans, eliminated in the 3rd round of qualifying for the Champions League by Panathinaikos (1-0; 2-1, 3-5 on penalties). But with a lot of desire, and a bit of irrationality resulting (no doubt) from the support of their supporters, they achieved an admirable performance in the Europa League. Second in their group, they eliminated Shakhtar Donetsk in the play-offs (2-2; 3-1). Before going out - with a big scare in the return match - Villarreal in the round of 16 (4-0; 3-1). In the quarters, against Benfica Lisbon, they reversed the situation at the Stade Vélodrome, qualifying on penalties (2-1; 1-0, 4-2). And in the semi-finals against Atalanta Bergamo, after a good performance at home (1-1), they completely collapsed in the return match (3-0), thus displaying all their limits. The results nevertheless remain good given what they have shown since last summer.

The average. Stade Rennes may have some regrets. In a group largely within their reach in the Europa League, the Rouge et Noir did the job...but nothing more. They won each time against Maccabi Haifa (3-0; 0-3) and Panathinaikos (1-2; 3-1), but lost twice against Villarreal (2-3; 3- 0), the other “big” team in their group. Result ? The Breton team did not directly qualify for the round of 16 of the C3 and had to go through the play-offs. Faced with AC Milan, the Rennais took a slap in the first leg, at San Siro (3-0), before reacting at home (3-2). In vain. Their European journey ended before the round of 16. If they had finished first in their group, they could undoubtedly have hoped for better.

Interesting. “Surprise” guest of the Europa League following its coronation in the Coupe de France, Toulouse FC put on a good show. The Violets beat Linzer ASK twice (1-0; 1-2) and did not lose against Union Saint-Gilloise (1-1; 0-0). But above all, after a big setback at Anfield (5-1), the players of the Pink City snatched a historic victory at home against Liverpool (3-2) - who had decided to turn. Results which allowed them to finish in second place in their group. In the play-offs, against Benfica Lisbon, they also showed a very good face: after an away defeat in the first leg (2-1), they gave everything at home to overthrow the Portuguese team, without success (0 -0). Despite everything, it's not bad for a team unaccustomed to European games and which has been trying to stay in Ligue 1 for a long time this season.

Not bad. And historical. We hoped that LOSC would go far, even very far, in the Europa Conference League. And he did not disappoint. Coming out of their group without (any) difficulty, the Mastiffs easily dismissed Sturm Graz in the round of 16 (0-3; 1-1), thus reaching the quarter-finals of a European competition for the first time in their history. Opposed to Aston Villa, the Northerners were eliminated with honors. After an away defeat in the first leg (2-1), they were able to reverse the trend at home, helped by their public. They didn't come far from qualifying for the last four, but Matty Cash sent the two teams into overtime at the end of regulation time (2-1). And on penalties, Benjamin André and his teammates were defeated. A somewhat annoying elimination. But a beautiful journey all the same.

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