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Lyon-Nantes, clash of coaches with an uncertain future

Peter Bosz and Antoine Kombouaré, who meet this Saturday evening during the 37th day of Ligue 1, may be living their last moments on their bench.

Peter Bosz and Antoine Kombouaré played half a season together in Toulon, they find themselves on the bench of Lyon and Nantes on Saturday (9 p.m.), after contrasting seasons but with the same questions about their future. It was in the fall of 1990, a 6-month break between Nantes and PSG for Kombouaré, then defender, while Bosz, midfielder, spent 3 years in Toulon (1988-1991).

Now coaches, with both still a year of contract, they find themselves neck and neck in the league: Lyon is 8th with 55 points and Nantes 9th at a length. For Bosz, a bitter failure, for Kombouaré, an exceptional success. With the second Ligue 1 budget, Lyon will not be European next season, for the first time since 1997, with the exception of the accident in 2020 (7th when the championship was suspended due to the Covid pandemic).

Currently in negotiations with new shareholders aimed at replacing Pathé and the Chinese from IDG, the president of Lyon, Jean-Michel Aulas has hinted that his future partners will have their say on whether or not to maintain the Dutch technician. “Today, whether for the relationship with the academy or the choice of game, very offensive, I think, as far as I am concerned, that it would be a mistake to decide to change“, he said on Wednesday. But “we will wait for the confirmation of the new partners“, Continued the leader of 73 years.

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prove something else»

Arrived in the summer of 2021, Bosz could interest Ajax Amsterdam, one of his former clubs, but the Dutch club finally fell back on Club Brugge coach Alfred Schreuder. At the same time, Lyon is keeping an eye on Christophe Galtier’s frustrations in Nice, in case the former Greens coach is released.

But Bosz doesn’t seem ready to pack his bags. “I don’t feel like I’m less supported“, he said Thursday. “Of course I want to stay (…). I want to prove something else next season“, he added, ensuring that he was very regularly consulted on the upcoming transfer window.

In Nantes, it was Kombouaré who set foot in the dish on Saturday evening, a few minutes after Nantes’ triumph in the Coupe de France. “The daily relationship with the president (Waldemar Kita) is not easy“, he launched at the Stade de France. “I’m not teaching you anything when I tell you that for 5 months we’ve been compartmentalised…“, he added Tuesday at a press conference. Arrived in February 2021 at the head of a team that was heading straight for Ligue 2, while he himself remained on a bitter failure the previous season in Toulouse, the Kanak coach was able to put the heads back sufficiently place to snatch the hold in dams.

“I paid my debt”

And with an almost unchanged workforce, he won the first Nantes title in the Coupe de France this season since 2001, with a completely honorable career in L1, punctuated with successes – against PSG in February or against Rennes on Wednesday – which made Beaujoire vibrate as rarely in recent years. He, whom FC Nantes had brought from New Caledonia in the early 1980s, describes himself these days as a happy man and a fulfilled coach. But he also warned: “I paid my debt“.

Unusually sober, Kita regretted a “lack of courtesyfrom his trainer. Kombouaré, in a strong position, may be looking to impose guarantees for next season. But the Nantes president, a great devourer of coaches, remains unpredictable, and could also be tempted to take advantage of Nantes’ lucky star to sell the club at a good price.

Above all, Kombouaré knows that it will be difficult to do as well next season. Admittedly, the prospect of a first European campaign since the beginning of the 2000s is enticing, but competing in the Europa League in parallel with the championship could prove risky in this season which will end in four relegations to reduce the L1 to 18 clubs. However, if Nantes has recently extended Nicolas Pallois or Pedro Chirivella, several other executives – Blas, Lafont, Simon … – could fly away like Randal Kolo Muani. And if he stays, Kombouaré will have to agree with Kita to replace them.

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