Rémi Oudin's red-hot streak in front of goal continued as he struck the matchwinner in the 1-0 defeat of FC Nantes on Sunday to extend Stade de Reims' unbeaten run to 13 matches.
Stade de Reims 1-0 FC Nantes
Reims had lost just five games all season prior to kick-off — a tally that they last enjoyed when they were challenging Real Madrid for continental domination in 1959/60 — and David Guion's side set about their task with the gusto that has helped them achieve that.
Arber Zeneli has been particularly influential since joining in January, and the artful midfielder posed the Nantes defence a number of problems that belied their impressive record of three clean sheets in their last four matches.
For all their dominance, Reims did not create a clear-cut opportunity until after the break. But when they did carve one out, Oudin took it.
The homegrown forward has hit a purple patch of late, and claimed his fifth goal in six league games after latching onto Björn Engels' pass, dribbling around Charles Traoré and brilliantly bending a shot into the top far corner of Maxime Dupé's net (60').
Seven of Nantes' previous 11 matches had ended 1-0, and they made it a sixth defeat as they added to that total with Andrei Girotto's dismissal for a second bookable offence (89') completing a miserable afternoon.
Vahid Halilhodzic's men, who are now 15th, nine points above the bottom three, must also be looking enviously at their opponents, who can harbour real ambitions of European football next season after drawing level with fifth-placed AS Saint-Étienne and moving to within a point of Olympique de Marseille — ahead of Sunday's Classique with Paris Saint-Germain — in fourth.
THE PLAYER: Rémi Oudin
There was another highlight reel contribution from the 22-year-old, who now has nine top-flight strikes to his name, that's two more than he scored in last season's promotion campaign.
THE STAT: 13
Reims have found the net in their last 13 league matches, and have just one loss in their last 13 home games.