What kind of opposition awaits the Rémois, back on the European scene after 57 years of absence, against Servette, at the Geneva stadium this Thursday evening? First element of importance, the team coached by Alain Geiger (former defender of Saint-Etienne), 59, 4th in the last “Swiss Super League”, does not resume its championship until Sunday.
“The state of preparation is quite difficult to assess,” said Frenchman Vincent Sasso, 29, central defender of Servette. On the one hand, we have only had one official match since the resumption. On the other, we finished our championship (Editor’s note: after confinement), with 13 games in a month and a half. Physically ready, I think we are, because in the end, the cut we had was very short. “
Three weeks ago, the Swiss dominated the Slovakians of Ruzomberok 3-0 in the first preliminary round of the Europa League. “Even though it’s a slightly weaker team, we felt that we were really on top physically in the second half. Reims has taken over the championship and I think it will be balanced in this respect. “
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What type of football do the Genevans play? “It’s playing ball,” Sasso says. Playing is the philosophy of the club and the coach. And anyway, we do not have a workforce that allows us to proceed in long balloons. We always try to start from behind, to play on the ground, even if it can be a little dangerous sometimes. “
A French triplet at the maneuver
Le Servette relies in particular on a French triplet: Sasso behind, Timothé Cognat in the middle of the field and Grejohn Kyei in front. “Cognat is an excellent player, trained at OL and brought in by Gérard Bonneau (Editor’s note: responsible for the Servette recruitment unit), resumes Sasso. He carries a lot of balloons. It is technically very comfortable, hits quite a bit and, physically, has a big engine. Kyei, who played in Reims (Editor’s note: Ligue 2 champion in 2018). Very good physically and technically, he can still improve the finish to go from the attacker who scores 6-7 goals per season to the one who scores 15-20. As for me, I played almost every game (last season). We had the best defense in the championship before the Covid crisis. Subsequently, it is true that we had more trouble in terms of concentration and management of fatigue. “
Sasso also mentions three other key pieces: “Our best player is right winger Miroslav Stevanovic, 30, Bosnian international, present at the club for three to four and voted the club’s best player every year. He is a player who turns ten assists per season, who also scores and has a real good quality of center. In the middle, Gaël Ondoua, a Cameroonian who played in Russia, is very important in impact and in terms of pressing. Finally, a youngster exploded after confinement: Kastriot Imeri. Swiss international hope, he can play everywhere: left winger, in “10” or in the middle. A great player in the making, in my opinion. “
“On a match, it’s 50-50”
In his stadium, how much does Sasso estimate the chances of Servette to pass the obstacle Reims? “Being from the French Championship, the Rémois obviously start favorites but I think that in a match, it’s 50-50. We do not lose sight of the fact that Reims is a very good L1 team, that it finished better in defense and that it is dangerous on the counter-attack. It is also a fairly young team that the absence of Yunis Abdelhamid ( Editor’s note: Covid case, in isolation until Thursday ) in central defense is likely to penalize. “