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HEROES TO ZEROES

Bordeaux’s side of Premier League rejects were once the most-feared team in Europe

Laurent Blanc's bunch of unlikely stars almost did the unthinkable

A true glitch in the Matrix. 

What do you get when you cross Marouane Chamakh, David Bellion and Yoan Gouffran?

Champions League quarter-finalists, obviously.


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Find someone who looks at you the way Jean-Alain Boumsong looks at Chamakh

AFP
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Find someone who looks at you the way Jean-Alain Boumsong looks at Chamakh

Cast your minds back to the 2009/10 season. A season in which Bordeaux almost pulled off a Leicester madness™, before Leicester.

Laurent Blanc assembled a squad that tore up the form-book during what was a strange point in time.

Bordeaux were without doubt the most-feared side in Europe’s elite competition and they almost went all the way.

Anyone who can get Bellion playing like Lionel Messi is a GOAT manager

Reuters
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Anyone who can get Bellion playing like Lionel Messi is a GOAT manager

The Ligue 1 club had been crowned domestic champions the season before and as such, qualified directly for the Champions League group stages.

The system that UEFA now have in place where league winners are automatically placed into Pot 1 wasn’t applicable at the time.

Bordeaux were consequently placed in the customary ‘group of death’, alongside Bayern Munich and Juventus. Maccabi Haifa were the group’s whipping boys.

It didn’t go how you would think.

Squad goals

Reuters
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Squad goals

Blanc’s Frankenstein side, pieced together of players who had little to no experience of European competition, turned into a bunch of unlikely heroes.

Spearheaded by future Arsenal flop Chamakh, with Man United reject of old David Bellion helping share the goal-load, Bordeaux weren’t blessed with attacking riches.

A young Laurent Koscielny and Bellion. Iconic stuff

Reuters
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A young Laurent Koscielny and Bellion. Iconic stuff

Perennially-Premier League linked Yoann Gourcuff pulled the strings in the centre of the park, with Newcastle’s forgettable Gouffran providing the width.

Later to fail at West Ham, Alou Diarra was the captain and the rock in midfield, with the back four marshalled expertly by the emerging Michael Ciani.

Not much to look at on paper

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Not much to look at on paper

The unfavourable bunch kicked off their Champions League campaign away in Turin against Juventus.

A 1-1 draw on the night, in which they fought back from behind, was the perfect start to their European journey. The best however was still to come.

Maccabi Haifa were then swept by the wayside, with Ciani scoring the only goal in the 1-0 victory.

FIFA 11 players will know how good this guy was

Reuters
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FIFA 11 players will know how good this guy was

Bordeaux then did the double over Champions League stalwarts Munich, storming to back-to-back victories by 2-1 and 2-0.

The final two group games featured a comfortable 2-0 win over Juventus, as well as a customary beating of the group’s Israeli occupants.

Chamakh’s goals and Gourcuff’s creativity proved to be crucial, as Blanc’s side topped Group A, finishing whopping six points ahead of Munich.

How’s that for an underdog story?

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How’s that for an underdog story?

A favourable draw saw them pitted against Greek side Olympiacos in what was a winnable tie on paper.

The Ligue 1 champions came through the two-legged affair unscathed, winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Upon reaching the quarter-finals, Bordeaux fans began to dream.

These two couldn’t stop scoring

AP:Associated Press
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These two couldn’t stop scoring

Blanc’s men were to meet their domestic rivals Lyon in the next round.

Their opponents had been on their own European adventure, toppling Liverpool to 2nd place in Group E.

Managed by Claude Puel, Lyon then overcame Real Madrid in the round of 16 to meet their Ligue 1 opponents.

Peak Lisandro Lopez has Puel to thank for his form

Reuters
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Peak Lisandro Lopez has Puel to thank for his form

The all-French affair failed to disappoint, with two end-to-end ties thrilling the neutrals.

Lyon were 3-1 winners on home soil, before Bordeaux failed to make up the ground in the second-leg, only winning 1-0.

The dream was over. 

There’s something poetic about Kim Kallstrom ending Chamakh’s Champions League dream

AP:Associated Press
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There’s something poetic about Kim Kallstrom ending Chamakh’s Champions League dream

Inter Milan went onto be crowned Champions League winners in what was a shock outcome in it’s own right.

Just imagine the scenes if Chamakh had got his wet-look gel soaked hands on a winners medal.

The quarter-final exit signalled a mass-exodus of players and their league form also took a major hit.

That feeling when you throw the Champions League and sign for Newcastle in the space of two years

AP:Associated Press
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That feeling when you throw the Champions League and sign for Newcastle in the space of two years

Bordeaux went onto finish 6th in Ligue 1, failing to qualify for any form of European competition.

Blanc resigned at the end of the season after three years in charge as the wheels well and truly came off.

Who will be this year’s version of Bordeaux?


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