On Friday, Liverpool found out their place in the UEFA Europa League Group Stages, and at first glance the draw seems like a manageable one. As can be expected with any continental competition--particularly with the younger, less attractive brother of the Champions League--the draw brings a few names to the table with which we as fans might not be all that familiar.
Of the three, FC Girondins de Bordeaux is probably the one most familiar to casual non-French football fans, but we can always learn a little more!
Right off the bat, can we just agree to call them "Bordeaux?" Thanks, that will make the typing of this article much easier.
Bordeaux was founded in 1881 as a multi-sports club in the city of the same name. The club took the name "Girondins" from a regional group of French Revolutionaries which is objectively awesome. Bordeaux would eventually become one of the more successful sides in French football, but it was a long, slow road for the club to reach any level of domestic prominence.
For one, football was not even offered at the club until 1910, and only then on a trial basis. The trial failed, and the club was content not to offer it again until 1919, and Bordeaux did not play their first official match until 1920--a rousing 12-0 victory over Section Burdigalienne.
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Yet again the club would have to wait until 1936 to gain professional status, debuting in the second division of French football in the 1937-38 season. During occupation, the club won its first major honor, the 1941 Coupe de France. After the war, Bordeaux finally ascended to the top flight following the 1948-49 season, and won their first Ligue 1 title the following campaign.
Today, the club has 6 top flight titles to their name--joint fourth best in France--most recently claiming the prize in 2008-09, when they won a treble. Bordeaux has also claimed 4 Coupe de France victories (1940-41, 1985-86, 1986-87, 2008-09), and 3 Coupe de Ligue titles (2001-02, 2006-07, 2008-09). The French club has yet to claim any major European honors, coming closest with a runner up performance in the 1995-96 edition of the Europa League.
The club is known for its navy and white home kits featuring a V-shape or "scapular" on the front. They first wore the scapular on their run to their first Coupe de France, and it has featured in the kit and crest ever since.
Bordeaux moved into a new home this season, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, replacing their former long-time home Stade Chaban-Delmas, which featured in both 1938 and 1998 World Cups.
Liverpool will see Bordeaux's shiny new stadium for themselves when they travel there on September 17th. The reverse fixture will be held November 26th.