An agonising 2-1 loss to Marseille last weekend halted Auxerre’s four-game unbeaten run despite them leading till the 75th minute. The Burgundians are now just one point above the Ligue 1 relegation zone after a result that coach Christophe Pélissier found both “disappointment” and “pride” in. The lurking danger of relegation should keep them on their toes as three of their remaining five matches are against current top-eight teams, beginning with this fixture against Clermont.
After failing to win any of their last five H2Hs (D2, L3) courtesy of a 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture, Auxerre have their task cut out in this match. In their favour is two wins across their last three league games at this venue (D1) which suggests the hosts have the tailwind to change the H2H narrative and go for a win.
It won’t be easy against in-form Clermont, who have notched up a club-record five consecutive top-flight wins after defeating Reims 1-0 last weekend. Manager Pascal Gastien knows that a top-five spot – ten points away heading into this round – is too lofty an ambition, and he is instead happy “to hang onto eighth place.”
Two of their last three wins saw the visitors end with at least one player short on the pitch, highlighting their spirit of even fighting numerical inferiority. That hasn’t been a problem on the road, however, as Clermont haven’t picked up a red card across their last 14 away league games. They now stand a chance to post three consecutive away top-flight wins for the first time ever after victories at Troyes (2-0) and Nice (2-1).
Players to watch: M’Baye Niang netted Auxerre’s opening strike of the game with each of his last five league goals, including their last home goal. Challenging him for opening honours could be Clermont’s Muhammed Cham, who has scored the match opener with his last three away league strikes, all coming in wins.
Hot stat: Six of the last nine winners in league meetings between these two sides have enjoyed a 1-0 scoreline.