Two clubs in contention for next year’s Champions League meet Saturday as Strasbourg host Nice in Ligue 1’s match of the week. Strasbourg have overachieved all season, with no signs they’re going away any time soon.
The Alsace club are in fourth place, three points behind Nice for the third and final UCL place in Ligue 1. With a win, Strasbourg would leapfrog Nice on goal difference, and they’re favored to do so by our soccer odds.
- Game: RC Strasbourg Alsace vs OGC Nice
- Location: Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, FR
- Date/Time: Saturday, Feb. 26th, 11:00 a.m. ET
Strasbourg vs Nice Betting Preview
Strasbourg came away with a brilliant 3-0 road win over Nice in December. Ludovic Ajorque opened the scoring in the 21st minute, the only goal until late. Strasbourg then added two more goals in the last 10 minutes, from Habib Diallo and Adrien Thomasson.
Nice have struggled in this matchup lately, dropping four of their last six meetings to Strasbourg. Unders have been a good pick for betting online here, with two or fewer goals scored in six of the last seven meetings. The last six matches have ended in a shutout win.
Strasbourg Exceeding All Expectations
Saint-Etienne were in last place just a few weeks ago, but climbed out of the relegation zone with three consecutive wins. They took a leading against Strasbourg within four minutes, but the visitors didn’t flinch.
Less than half-hour later, Strasbourg were up, 2-1, scoring both goals on set pieces. Saint-Etienne would level the match shortly thereafter, and that was that. Still, it’s taken just 25 matches for Strasbourg to match their point total from all of last season.
What Strasbourg have done this season is nothing short of remarkable. Julien Stephan’s first season as head coach has been a huge success, as Strasbourg are in the race for the Champions League when it looked like they could be a relegation candidate.
Ajorque has picked up where he left off last season as Strasbourg’s main man. He has 10 goals and seven assists and is part of a three-headed monster that also includes Kevin Gameiro and AFCON winner Diallo.
Gameiro and Diallo have both contributed nine league goals, the former proving one of the best signings of the summer. The veteran has helped Strasbourg become of the league’s most potent offenses. With 13 matches remaining, they’re just one goal away from matching their total from last season.
In the new year, Strasbourg have been one of Ligue 1’s best soccer picks, with five wins, a loss and a draw. This will be by far Strasbourg’s biggest test of 2022, and it’ll be a good barometer to see where they’re at.
Defense First for Nice
Nice bounced back from a 2-0 defeat at Lyon with a 1-0 win over Angers SCO. Justin Kluivert scored the winner in the first half as he nutmegged the keeper.
Les Aiglons were the only team in the Ligue 1 top four to win their last game. PSG fell to Nantes, Marseille were beaten by Clermont and Strasbourg drew at Saint-Etienne. It’s a challenge to try to catch PSG, with Nice 14 points behind. However, they can have the distinction of being “best of the rest” this season.
Christophe Galtier’s first season in charge of Nice has gone exceptionally well, and he’s a proven winner. Galtier guided Lille to a stunning title last season, and he’s not far away from taking Nice from ninth place a year ago to the Champions League. Their defense has improved tremendously, having conceded the fewest goals in the league to this point.
While they don’t have an explosive offense, Amine Gouiri has been a standout, reaching the 10-goal mark for a second consecutive season. That’s not bad for a 22-year old. Kasper Dolberg and Andy Delort have added six goals apiece, and Dolberg in particular will want to have a better showing after missing some sitters vs Angers.
Nice have been great in Ligue 1. They’re also a good pick to bet online in the Coupe de France, where they face fourth-tier Versailles in next Tuesday’s semifinal. They’ve already defeated PSG and Marseille in the competition.
Galtier will go back to the drawing board to try to stop Strasbourg’s attack, and we’re certainly not expecting another three-goal Strasbourg win.
This projects as a very close match, and with only one team getting on the scoresheet in the last six meetings, we favor the under 2½ goals.