Montpellier vs Olympiacos Preview

Rene Girard will cut a frustrated figure in the stands of the Stade de la Mosson as the outspoken Montpellier coach serves a touchline ban for Wednesday's visit of Olympiacos.

Football News: René Girard Montpellier

Girard, not renowned for his shy and retiring nature, earned a two-match suspension for making a rude gesture to his Schalke counterpart Huub Stevens after this month's 2-2 draw in Gelsenkirchen.

But returning home from Germany with a first-ever Champions League point has put the reigning French champions in good heart as Leonardo Jardim's Olympiacos come to town.

Girard is trying to look on the bright side despite the frustration of being denied his place in the dug-out for the Group B clash, that responsibility to be shared temporarily between his son Nicolas and assistant manager Pascal Baills.

The 58-year-old told L'Equipe: "At least it's at home, not away, so I won't be harassed by people in the stands!

"I remember one Ligue 1 away day where I ended up with a police guard around me.

"There was a lot of provocation and insults were flying, you never know what's going to happen.

"I really like to be close to the action, to participate. I need to move with the rhythm of the match. It's an annoying punishment.

"I could just stay at home and use a megaphone, but let's be serious, I couldn't bear not being at the stadium."

Girard trusts both his son and second-in-command to keep faith with his footballing philosophy as Montpellier strive for a positive result against the Athens outfit.

"We're not immune from injuries, dismissals, or from players underperforming," he added.

"It will be their responsibility to navigate such things, but I trust them, and I trust the players.

"I've always said that the collective is more important than the individual, and these are a great bunch of guys.

"I just hope I don't end up disturbing the people I sit next to, and hopefully I won't be sitting near anyone Greek!"

Less encouraging for La Paillade is the news that winger Karim Ait-Fana will miss the next six months after suffering a serious knee injury.

Defender Garry Bocaly picked up a red card against Schalke and joins his manager on the sidelines.

Olympiacos will be able to call on the experience of Paulo Machado, Francois Modesto, Djamel Abdoun and Rafik Djebbour, all of whom have played previously in France.

Tassos Papazoglou will not feature, though, after dislocating his right shoulder, with midfielder Ariel Ibagaza also ruled out due to a groin injury.



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