Why Strasbourg are on course to be Ligue 1’s next success story
Alsace outfit are unbeaten in four
After promotion from Ligue 2 in 2017, RC Strasbourg’s first season back in the top-flight saw them finish in 15th place – just a point above the relegation play-off spot.
However, impressive home form and a savvy manager in Thierry Laurey suggested Le Racing could be on the rise. And the signs this season have cemented that.
Here’s why we’ve been impressed with the Alsace club, and why they could be set for a memorable campaign…
Laurey proving himself a smart tactician
Boss Laurey built his name taking Gazelec Ajaccio from third-tier to Ligue 1 in successive seasons. And he’s building a similarly impressive legacy at a bigger club in Strasbourg.
The 54-year-old has had the club on an upward trajectory since taking over at the then-Ligue 2 side in 2016. And it’s largely been thanks to his consistently excellent tactical decisions.
He’s chopped and changed Strasbourg’s formation through this season, and done so to great effect.
That included a 5-4-1 to secure a superb counter-attacking win over Monaco at Stade de la Meinau. But he’s also gone with several more expansive systems this season, recording wins over lesser sides like Dijon and SC Amiens in the process.
Newboy Mothiba’s star is on the rise
It’s less than two months since South African striker Lebo Mothiba joined Strasbourg from Lille for £4m. But the 22-year-old is already looking like one of the buys of the summer.
He’s netted five times in the last seven games, including a sumptuous chip in the 2-1 defeat of Thierry Henry’s AS Monaco. And the rapid forward preceded that goal with a first-half brace at Angers – both strikes a result of electric pace and fine finishing.
But the Johannesburg native’s speed and strike-rate aren’t the whole story of his game. A tidy player with a superb first touch, he’s already built an intuitive partnership with Cape Verde international Nuno Da Costa in attack.
Stade de la Meinau is a fortress
Strasbourg’s home and away form was quite the contrast last term. On the road, they had the league’s joint-second lowest points total (with 11). But they chalked up 27 points at Stade de la Meinau – including a 3-2 defeat of Olympique Lyonnais.
With consistency so rare outside of the real Ligue 1 heavyweights, Strasbourg’s continued rise at home has begun to catch the eye. They’ve now taken a whopping 13 points from their last six on home soil.
Those wins are looking increasingly convincing, with the 3-0 victory over Dijon last month the visitors’ heaviest loss in 14 away games. Visiting sides are quickly learning that Le Racing can offer one of the season’s toughest tests.
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