Brest and its European dreams receive Monaco, the final sprint of Ligue 1 is launched

The months-long marathon begins its sprint phase

Brest and its European dreams receive Monaco, the final sprint of Ligue 1 is launched

The months-long marathon begins its sprint phase. Nestled at the top of the Ligue 1 table, a few days before the end of the championship, Brest (2nd) and Monaco (3rd) meet on Sunday April 21 on Breton soil (5:05 p.m.), in high-stakes opposition.

The club from the harbor, once out of steam in its race for points, knows it must protect its short lead to hope to experience the first participation in a European Cup in its history. But the Finisterians are driven out. Not only by the Monegasques, but also by an armada of clubs accustomed to these deadlines, who are trying to find their way to the podium: Lille, Nice and Lens.

In the event of a defeat on Sunday at the Stade Francis-Le Blé, Brest would exchange silver for bronze, and would then be all the more vulnerable. Because the Ty Zef dream of the Champions League, and the only means at their disposal to access it is Ligue 1, and its first three qualifying places; the fourth automatically sending them into roadblocks, and therefore into uncertainty.

“There is not a supporter who would have bet their savings account on our position at this stage of the season,” Eric Roy, the Brest coach, confided to Le Monde last week. In the pre-match conference on Saturday, the tactician nevertheless regretted the latest setbacks, notably in Lyon (4-3), without wanting to give up: "This somewhat unfavorable context, it must help us unite ourselves to be able to get results to close a perhaps historic season. Let's focus on what we can do. »

Pierre Lees-Melou suspendu

Only one unit separates Stade Brestois (53 points) and AS Monaco (52 points), but the Rocher club has a game in hand, which could be profitable for them. If the Bretons want to preserve their place as runner-up to PSG, they will have to win at home on Sunday.

And the duel promises to be engaging, the opposition in style between the two teams guaranteeing spectacle and, probably, goals. Even if the absences on both sides make the outcome of the meeting all the more unpredictable. AS Monaco notably lost its master player, Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, who injured his ankle during training this week.

On the Finistère side, we will also have to do without the leader of the squad, the Frenchman Pierre Lees-Melou, suspended for the match following a red card during the match in Lyon. “I am not dissatisfied that Lees-Melou is suspended,” admitted ASM’s Austrian coach, Adi Hütter. He is one of the best circles in [matters] of duels, of combat. »

“The best squad with PSG”

Praised for his season, beyond just the statistical aspect, the discreet 30-year-old midfielder prefers to line up behind the collective, even though his coach recently mentioned the idea of ​​a first selection with the Blues: “We is marking the club's history, and it's beautiful. »

A simplicity which makes it the engine of a well-oiled group, against which Monaco will have to present the same state of mind to hope to win. And French striker Wissam Ben Yedder, captain of ASM, will be able to count on a dense group, populated by players of European caliber. Starting with his compatriot Youssouf Fofana, inexhaustible in the midfield, or the Japanese Takumi Minamino, author of a remarkable season alongside him on the attacking front.

On Saturday, Eric Roy also praised Monegasque consistency: “It’s a very strong team offensively. When you see the squad, it’s a little scary. It’s the best squad [in Ligue 1], with PSG. » A weighty compliment, at the end of the season where the untouchable Paris Saint-Germain seems to be approaching its twelfth championship title, the third in a row.

Qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions League, the Parisians attract attention, and undoubtedly some desire. But, before projecting themselves that far, Brest and Monaco will first have to compete, then beat their direct competitors. Rennes and Reims for the Bretons, Lille and Lyon for the ASM. The final sprint has only just begun, but it promises to be competitive.