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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 7, 2008

Gourcuff plays down Bordeaux title chances

Bordeaux forward Yoann Gourcuff is playing down talk of the club being genuine title contenders heading into the start of the new Ligue 1 season.

Les Girondins, who play Caen at home in their league opener on Saturday, appear to be one of the few teams capable of preventing Lyon winning the championship for an eighth consecutive year.

Laurent Blanc's men took Les Gones all the way last campaign, the title only being decided on the final weekend.

They have just beaten Lyon to win the Trophee des Champions, but Gourcuff reckons challenging them over the course of a season will be a much tougher ask.

Asked if Bordeaux are playing for the title this season, the summer signing from AC Milan said: 'I wouldn't go that far.

'I just hope we are ambitious, that we really want to have the best season possible and that we play to win.

'It would be better if we played great football too.

'But Lyon stay favourites for the title. Recent results prove how stable they are and their massive budget is also completely different to that of Bordeaux's.'

Left-back Diego Placente, another summer signing for Les Girondins, is struggling for match fitness and may not be ready for this weekend.

With Lyon taking on Toulouse at home in Sunday's only game, the likes of Bordeaux and Marseille have a chance to strike an early blow.

OM, who are also expected to do well this season after a third-placed finish last time out, visit Rennes.

The Mediterranean side have added Bakari Kone, Hatem Ben Arfa and Vitorino Hilton to their squad this summer and coach Eric Gerets expects an improvement this season.

'My dream is to be champions,' said the Belgian. 'But I believe if we come second, the board will certainly not kill me.

'One thing is for sure - the club have done what they can to follow my ideas so there will be no excuse if we have an average championship.'

Elsewhere, Paris St Germain will be without the suspended Stephane Sessegnon, a summer signing, for the trip to Monaco while fellow close-season recruit Claude Makelele is struggling with a thigh injury.

Two of the three promoted clubs play away from home on the first weekend, Nantes going to Auxerre and Grenoble visiting Sochaux.

Le Havre, heavily tipped to struggle in their first season back in the top flight, host Nice.

In the three other matches on Saturday, Le Mans entertain Lorient, Valenciennes welcome St Etienne and Lille travel to Nancy.

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