1.12.2020Europa League

Our next opponents: Nice suffer due to Dante injury

Bayer 04 are looking to clear away any lingering doubts about progressing to the knockout rounds of the Europa League on the Cote d’Azur on Thursday 3 December (kick-off: 21.00 CET/live on RTL Nitro, DAZN and on Werks11 Radio at plus on the Bayer 04 app). What have Nice done since the 6-2 defeat against the Werkself in the middle of October? The latest on our next opponents.

"That makes it almost impossible,” said Patrick Vieira last Thursday after his team lost 3-1 to Slavia Prague. Nevertheless: only “almost”. To go through to the Round of 32 in the Europa League, his team have to make up six points on the Werkself in the remaining two games – and also at least equal the 6-2 scoreline in the first meeting, that means winning 4-0 or 5-1 on Thursday. As the first game against Slavia Prague ended in a 3-2 defeat so did the head-to-head with the Czechs; the only points gained so far in the group stage came from a 1-0 win against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Defeat against bottom-placed club

Nice have also failed to fire on all cylinders in Ligue 1 since the game at the BayArena. Back then, Nice were fourth in the French top-flight but they slipped eleventh at the weekend – after a 3-1 home defeat at bottom-placed Dijon. “We’re in a difficult phase,” admitted Vieira at the post-match press conference. “We have to stick together and work even harder to turn it round.”

One definite reason for the current poor form of the French side: the serious injury to their captain and key defender Dante. The former Bundesliga player suffered a torn cruciate in a 3-0 win against Angers at the start of November and faces several months on the sidelines. After the shock injury, Nice have lost all four games with the defence conceding eleven goals without their leader. The team has also been hit hard by coronavirus: A number of players tested positive in the middle of November and the league match against Olympique Marseille had to be postponed. The majority of the players affected are now back in the squad.


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