The suspension of the Ligue 1 Conforama season may have a silver lining: clubs now have time to recover injured players, some of whom thought their season was over. Check out who could be making a sensational comeback…
The Ligue 1 Conforama campaign was entering its final stretch when it was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. At a standstill until further notice, with ten rounds to go (and a postponed Round 28 match between Strasbourg and PSG), some clubs stand to receive some big boosts by the time the championship resumes.
They really needed it
Rennes (3rd), five returns to hold onto Champions League qualification
Currently third in Ligue 1 Conforama, the Bretons will be chief among the sides to benefit from the break in play. Gerzino Nyamsi (left thigh, late January), Jonas Martin (right quadriceps, early October with a relapse in late December), Clément Grenier (calf in late December, then hamstring in late January for his return), and Jeremy Morel (thigh pain since late January) will bolster the squad in the final stretch of the season.
Reims (5th), a full squad to fight for Europe
A surprise fifth on the table, Stade de Reims will record five returnees as they battle for a place in Europe. Mathieu Cafaro (thigh, mid-January), Kaj Sierhuis (hamstring, early February), Xavier Chavalerin (quadriceps, late February), Anastasios Donis (adductor, early March) and Axel Disasi (calf, early March) will all be there to add depth to the Champagne club's squad.
Dijon (16th), Chouiar and Gomis to beat the drop
Dijon will be one of the teams most favoured by this suspension. Goalkeeper Alfred Gomis (ruptured posterior ligament in his right knee on 8 February) could play again even though his season looked to be utterly over. In defence, Mickaël Alphonse (knee, early March) and Glody Muzinga (adductors, late February) are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Injured at the end of February, attacking midfielders Mounir Chouiar (ankle) and Yassine Benzia (hamstring) will make add strength and body to the Burgundy club's attack.
Saint-Etienne (17th), a handy break
The suspension of Ligue 1 Conforama will allow Saint-Etienne to recover all of their injured players: Romain Hamouma (left thigh, early February), Wahbi Khazri (left thigh, early February), Loïc Perrin (left hamstring, late February), Yohan Cabaye (right adductor, early March) and Jean-Eudes Ahoulou (right ankle, early March).
Back to full strength
Paris-SG (1st), an empty infirmary
Solid leaders, the Parisians will be able to rely on the returns of Colin Dagba (distension of the medial ligament of the left knee, late January), Thiago Silva (in recovery following a biceps femoral injury to the right thigh, late February) and Ander Herrera (pain in the right thigh, mid-February) in the recovery. Valuable assets as the capital club looks to keep competing on four fronts (French Cup, League Cup, Ligue 1 and Champions League).
Angers (10th), reinforcements out wide
The left-sided Rayan Aït Nouri (fractured jaw in mid-January) and his counterpart on the right Vincent Manceau (adductor muscle problems in late February) will be able to resume competition - good news for the Angers defence.
Strasbourg (11th), three reinforcements for a better finish
Meanwhile at the Stade le Meinau, the break from Ligue 1 Conforama dutieswill also be beneficial. The Alsatian club should see the return of defender Anthony Caci (adductor, early January) and midfielders Sanjin Prcic (back pain, early January) and Benjamin Corgnet (adductor, early February).
Bordeaux (12th), grunt up front
Nicolas De Préville and Toma Basic, who have been absent since the beginning of March, will have time to treat pain following knocks received in matches. Absent since the end of February, Jimmy Briand, the club's top scorer in Ligue 1 Conforama with 7 goals, will have to recover from physical problems.
Nantes (13th), one per sector
After rupturing a cruciate knee ligament in one knee on the first day of the season, winger Marcus Coco will be ready when the competition resumes. So will midfielder Roli Pereira de Sa, who has been suffering from a complaint in his adductor ligaments since the end of December. Full-back Fabio, who had an apparently season-ending left patellar tendon rupture in late October, could be back in action when the season resumes.
Amiens (19th), three players to keep survival hopes alive
In great difficulties, Amiens are still hoping to beat the drop. Mathieu Bodmer (calf, mid-January), Bakaye Dibassy (thigh strain, late February) and Quentin Cornette (thigh injury, late February) are expected to return to help the club achieve their goal.
They are still in the unknown
Lille (4th), waiting
LOSC are in limbo. Yusuf Yazici, who suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee on 21 December, is expected to be insufficiently recovered to play by the end of the season. Timothy Weah, who suffered another hamstring injury in mid-February, could make a comeback.
Nice (6th): Atal question mark
Patrick Vieira had announced an absence "between three and five months" for Youcef Atal, victim of a meniscus injury to the right knee in early December. If the Algerian international recovers quickly, he could play a major role at the end of the season. Wylan Cyprien (thigh, late January) should be operational.
Lyon (7th), glimmer of hope for Depay and Reine-Adélaïde
Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adélaïde both suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, left and right respectively, on 15 December. OL's statement at the time heralded a six-month absence for both players, but the Dutchman has been hard at work accelerating his return in order to be ready for Euro 2020 - which has now been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This imposed break means that the two Lyon players are expected to be back by the end of the season.
It's not going to change much for them
Marseille (2nd), Sakai takes advantage to have surgery
Nemanja Radonjic (pubalgia surgery) will be ready when Ligue 1 Conforama resumes. Good news for OM, who seem to have been running out of steam in recent matches. Hiroki Sakai, who was struggling in his last few appearances, had surgery on his left ankle on Tuesday. The Japan international should be back for the end of the season.
Montpellier (8th), Souquet back in action
Montpellier's infirmary is almost empty. Nicolas Cozza, the victim of a cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee in mid-November, is the only long-serving absentee. Thus Arnaud Souquet (hamstring tear at the end of February) will be the only notable return for La Paillade for the end of the league campaign.
Monaco (9th), Pellegri and Geubbels on the comeback trail
Absent since the start of the season, Willem Geubbels and Pietro Pellegri have had a string of physical complaints, but have been training with the professional squad over the last few weeks. Adrien Silva, who suffered a pain in his left thigh at the beginning of the month, will be able to compete in the restart.
Brest (14th), only Autret injured
The Brittany club are barely affected by injuries at the moment. Mathias Autret, (adductor pain since the beginning of March) is the only one taking advantage of the break to secure a return to the team.
Metz (15th) and Nîmes (18th), nothing to report
These two teams are the only ones with no injuries at the moment.
Toulouse (20th), saving what can be saved
On the verge of relegation to Domino's Ligue 2, Toulouse do not have a crowded infirmary: Lovre Kalinic (right thigh, early February) and Kelvin Amian (foot, early January) will take advantage of the break to get back to full fitness.