Blanc talks up sense of occasion

Laurent Blanc has urged FC Girondins de Bordeaux supporters to turn out in force for what he sees as "the biggest game" in the club's Group A campaign, Wednesday's visit of Maccabi Haifa FC.

Laurent Blanc has urged FC Girondins de Bordeaux supporters to turn out in force for what he sees as "the biggest game" in the club's Group A campaign, Wednesday's visit of Maccabi Haifa FC. The Israeli champions arrived in southern France "full of optimism", according to coach Elisha Levy, but without any points after losing 3-0 at home to FC Bayern München on Matchday 1, when Bordeaux underlined their credentials by holding Juventus in Turin.

Laurent Blanc, Bordeaux coach
We have prepared as well as we could even despite playing on Sunday evening. We will try to recover well to be ready, and I think we will be. Of course we don't know the Haifa team as well as we know Bayern or Juventus, but we will explain their team, their tactical system and their individual talents to the side. Everybody knows that Juve and Bayern are the group favourites, and Bordeaux and Maccabi will compete to take points from each other. As far as we know Haifa play very technical football, not too physical, but they are quick and gifted. We will have to control them, offer the best we have and make the most of their weaknesses. For me this is our biggest game. This is an appeal to the public, I want a full stadium for this magnificent competition. I want to take three points, as we must do for all our home games. As for our ambition in the Champions League, it has to be higher than last year.

Elisha Levy, Maccabi coach
It will be a difficult game but we arrive full of optimism and will fight until the last minute. We'll have a video session to finalise our preparations as we only left Israel on Tuesday because of Yom Kippur, but this isn't as bad as you think. We got a direct flight to Bordeaux and the players have had time to rest; we'll be ready for the match. We have a mix of players, and will expect the older ones to help the younger ones. We don't have a specific plan for Gourcuff or Chamakh; we're going to play our own game.

Weekend results
27/09/09 Bordeaux 1-0 Stade Rennais FC
(Wendel 23)
• Wendel's strike on his 100th league appearance for Bordeaux was enough to earn a third successive Ligue 1 victory and a fifth clean sheet in a row in the league.

• Les Girondins are 20 matches unbeaten in all competitions, winning 18, and have not lost in 37 league games at home, a 3-1 loss to Olympique Lyonnais on 7 October 2007.

Maccabi did not play over the weekend due to Yom Kippur.
• Their Matchday 1 loss to Bayern was only Haifa's second in 28 fixtures in all competitions, stretching back to the start of March. They were also defeated 2-1 by Beitar Jerusalem FC in last season's State Cup final.

Team news
Bordeaux
Out: Jussiê and Yoan Gouffran (hip) were ruled out on the eve of the match
Doubtful: Michaël Ciani (ankle), Fernando Cavenaghi (groin)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: none

Maccabi
Out: Alon Harazi has been nursing a head injury but is fit and in the squad, although second-choice goalkeeper Amir Edri suffered a shoulder injury in training and if unfit will be replaced on the substitutes' bench by Haim Ziskind.
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: none

Background
• Bordeaux have never faced Israeli opposition before.

• Haifa earned a 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain FC on their only previous visit to France in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round, Yossi Benayoun taking just two minutes to cancel out Marco Simone's 84th-minute goal for the hosts.

• Bordeaux have suffered just one defeat in their last ten home games in UEFA club competition, 3-1 against AS Roma in last term's UEFA Champions League group stage.

Did you know?
Bordeaux coach Blanc was in the Manchester United FC side that defeated Maccabi 5-2 in the visitors' first UEFA Champions League group-stage match in September 2002.

Top