September 19, 2017
The Gym get going again
Shaken during their first trips of the season, the Aiglons got back on track with the win away from home in their most recent league outing. A positive note that if continued, will lead to more positive outcomes ahead.
Waregem, an important first
The draw obtained in Amsterdam (2-2) remained, until last Thursday, the best result that the squad had achieved far from its home since the beginning of the season. An operation that opened the doors to the Europa League, 9 months after they had closed the season before. For this to get even better, the competition needed to start with panache. The Flemish softness brought the expected freshness. Well organised and in good form, the Red and Blacks put their foot on the pedal taking to pieces a good Zulte-Waregem side (5-1).
Their first win away from the Allianz in 2017/2018 will remain in the history books as the second achieved away from home in Europe, after Salzburg last autumn. It also equals, the largest victory obtained in a continental fixture (5-1 against Fenerbahçe in 1960). To put this into a more modern context, this trip to Belgium allowed the Aiglons to go halfway to matching last year's tally (6 points obtained in the group stages). And to put them in the best possible position for what lies ahead, in a very open Group K.
The brainwave at Rennes?
The transformation of the trial was confirmed with a successful return to "the country". A difficult affair. Returning very late on Thursday evening (or very early on Friday morning...), the Gym took to the air once more on Saturday afternoon. Direction, Rennes to break their curse which had denied them a victory away from home in L1 since 7 April (2-1 victory over Lille). Super Mario took on the responsibility of breaking the rut, unleashing a bullet strike, with 10 minutes to go.
After 3 defeats (Marseille, St-Etienne, Amiens) and 2 draws (Toulouse, Lyon) - a run that spanned two seasons -, this was the first win away from home in the league, achieved despite the fatigue and pain. An important stat which they will need to use, given that it has been one of the Gym's main strengths since the 2014/2015 season*.
Although, now there will be three consecutive home games for Lucien Favre's side (Angers, Arnhem and Marseille). A perfect opportunity to build at home before continuing with their conquest.
*2016/2017: 3rd best away from home → 3rd place in L1
2015/2016: 6th best away from home → 4th place in L1
2014/2015: 6th best away from home → 11th place in L1