FRANCE: Ligue 1
Date: Thursday, 27 May 2021
Kick-off at 20:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Stadium Municipal (Toulouse)
Toulouse enter this playoff final first leg looking to return to the top flight after just a one-year absence, though just one Ligue 2 (L2) club has prevailed since the introduction of the playoffs back in 2016/17. Regardless, a strong start is expected, with Toulouse being the only L2 side undefeated at HT on home soil in the regular season (HT: W6, D13).
Subsequently they lost just two of their 19 regular-season L2 home fixtures (W13, D4), keeping 11 clean sheets along the way, as well as in their playoff against Grenoble. Furthermore, ‘Les Violets’ scored first in a league-best 78.95% of their second-tier home outings during the league campaign just gone, with a near-perfect unbeaten record (W14, D1) when doing so.
Four victories in five Ligue 1 (L1) matches ultimately proved futile for Nantes’ hopes of avoiding a dreaded playoff, and the club may now face a first relegation since 2013. Poor defensive performances have been the main culprit for them, with Nantes’ average of 1.45 goals conceded this campaign being their worst in a whole L1 season since 1963/64.
The visitors may have claimed just six wins from their 19 L1 away fixtures this season (W6, D5, L8), but they’ve won the last three – for their longest such run since September 2017 – while scoring 3.33 goals on average. Poor first-half performances remain a major problem though, with Nantes failing to score before HT in 63.16% of their L1 away fixtures.
Players to watch: Red-hot Rhys Healey has scored four goals across Toulouse’s most recent two competitive matches, of which three came after the 75th minute. Also in good form is Randal Kolo Muani, who has been involved in five of Nantes’ last six top-flight strikes, with four goals and one assist.
- Toulouse’s form in last 5 matches: WDDWW.
- Nantes’s form in last 5 matches: LWWWW.