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The chance to make a big splash

Nice v Vitesse

September 25, 2017

The chance to make a big splash

On Thursday, the Europa League marks its return to the Allianz Riviera. The Gym will come up against Vitesse Arnhem, holders of the Dutch Cup and currently in excellent form. Already a chance to make a big splash.

Essential

Time seems to erase surprises and their effects. However, seeing the European Cup get underway in two consecutive seasons in the Comté, remains too fresh to be able to inspire warmth. It is, incidentally, the first time in its history that the Gym have put in a performance like that, a sign that the value of things depends, sometimes on the number of years. One year after Schalke (the German steamroller), Lucien Favre’s side will be back in their own stadium in a continental group stage. And they won’t be starting from a blank sheet, given that one match has already taken place, fifteen days ago, ending with a positive outcome (5-1 victory over Waregem). At the same time, Lazio defeated Arnhem, which fires the two Mediterranean sides to the top of the group and offers them a hugely important second match of the competition. If the Aiglons win, Nice will take a 6 point lead on its opponent and would equal last season’s total in just two outings. That wouldn’t knock the Yellow and Blacks out, but would put the Aiglons into a great position before their double header against Lazio.

Chase history

One year after the defeat against the men from the Ruhr (0-1), lots of things have happened. All of these things mark the continuity of the meeting on Thursday. In fact, the months that have passed, have put the Gym to the test of fire. After 20 years of waiting, first of all it burned, then finished its last European campaign in the last place of its group. However, the heat seems to have strengthened the iron. This effect was confirmed in the middle of summer, because after finishing in 3rd place in Ligue 1, a place in Europe wasn’t guaranteed. A two-legged match against Ajax (1-1 in the first leg, 2-2 in the second) and a goal in the final fifteen minutes from Vincent Marcel remediated this anomaly that puts 4th place on the sofa and 3rd place on a folding seat. And you can’t help but feel that this performance stemmed from the previous season, its defeats (against Schalke and Krasnodar and in Nice against Salzburg) and its tight wins (in Salzbourg and against Krasnodar).

A powerful Napoli came to remind us, at the time when the Champions League was taking shape, that the club is moving forward “step by step”, as President Rivère enjoys repeating.

The next step will begin assuredly with a good operation against Arnhem.