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FC Girondins de Bordeaux captain Alou Diarra cannot wait for the visit of Juventus in UEFA Champions League Group A, despite a rare home aberration at the weekend.
Before Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Valenciennes FC, Bordeaux been 20 matches unbeaten in all competitions at the Stade Chaban-Delmas and were in the midst of a 13-game home winning sequence in Ligue 1. The French titleholders drew 1-1 with the Bianconeri on Matchday 1 and know victory against the club that knocked them out at the semi-final stage of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1984/85, en route to winning the competition, would secure top spot in the section.
"It's a habit we've got into, to be solid, tough and on our game in front of our own fans," said Diarra. "It's a stadium where we drop very few points, even in the championship. It's a stadium where we feel really strong – we feel we can beat any team there. Of course, we know a good season needs good away performances too, but at the moment the Chaban-Delmas is like a fortress."
Les Marine et Blanc won their two previous home fixtures in the section, downing Maccabi Haifa FC and FC Bayern München to pick up where they left off at the end of last term, when they triumphed in their final eleven league games to pip Olympique de Marseille to the title. For Diarra, 28, "anything is possible" in Europe's premier club competition now a last-16 place is assured. "Monaco's epic journey [to the final in 2003/04] is a good example," explained the French international midfielder. "But we're well aware that once we're through the group stage you get really hard games against teams of a really high standing."
With Bordeaux also second in Ligue 1, the former Bayern, Liverpool FC, RC Lens and Lyon player was also keen to pay tribute to everyone behind the scenes at the club, not just coach Laurent Blanc. "He works alongside Éric Bedouet, Dominique Dropsy and Jean-Louis Gasset, so it's very important to talk about all the staff," he said. "Laurent Blanc is a manager who's stayed young in his mind; he's close to the whole squad. He senses things and with his experience he gives us so much. He understands our character and it's a massive plus for us all to have a great former player in charge."
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