Saint-Etienne are looking to appoint a new coach after Claude Puel was stood down following the team's heavy defeat to Rennes at the weekend — ligue1.com looks at the potential candidates to take on the job at the record Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions.
Pro clubs coached: Evian Thonon-Gaillard (2012-'15), Toulouse (2016-'18), Caen (2019-'21)
Dupraz took Evian to a Coupe de France final in 2013, the pinnacle of his work at the club and its forerunners for whom he had also played in the last decade of the 20th century. A former forward, Dupraz then worked at Toulouse where he miraculously staved off relegation in the 2015/16 season.
The club were 10 points off safety with just 10 games to play in the Ligue 1 season, but Dupraz kept a side featuring Wissam ben Yedder and Martin Braithwaite in the top division. That is a factor which could weigh heavily in the minds of the powers that be at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, who include Jean-François Soucasse, the Saint-Etienne Executive President who worked with Dupraz in south-west France.
A disappointing 18-month spell in charge of second division Caen, which ended in mid-March 2021, has done little to damage his reputation as a coach whose motivational skills can provoke an instant positive response from his players.
Pro clubs coached: Stade de Reims (2017-'21)
A former defender with Lille and Angers, among others, Guion's stunning success at Reims was founded on a solid base. That said, they were not boring: his team racked up a record 88 points and 28 wins in the 2017/18 Ligue 2 season as they were promoted to the top flight after a two-year absence.
An excellent first campaign saw Guion's men finish eighth and — in the shortened 2019/20 season — he took them to sixth and UEFA Europa League football, a return to European competition for the club after more than half a century. Guion was able to boast the best defensive record in the division with just 21 goals conceded in 28 games, three fewer than champions Paris Saint-Germain who played a game less.
His final season saw Reims flirt with relegation before ending 14th, two points above the relegation play-off spot, but his tenure is regarded highly both inside and outside the club.
Pro clubs coached: Le Mans (2004-'07), Sochaux (2007), Le Havre (2008/09), Bastia (2010-'14), Montpellier (2016/17), Metz (2017/18)
The most experienced coach at the top level among the three serious candidates, Hantz laid the groundwork for a very good Le Mans side that featured the likes of Grafite before — following disappointments at Sochaux and Le Havre — he enjoyed great success at Bastia.
Starting in the third tier of French football, Hantz secured back-to-back promotions with the Corsican club, winning Ligue 2 in 2011/12 with a side including Jérôme Rothen and Florian Thauvin. He then comfortably kept his team in the top division over the final two seasons of his tenure there, playing attractive football.
After a break from the game, he took charge of a struggling Montpellier side in January 2016 and took them from 18th to 12th by the season's end; he did not manage to save Metz, however, in the 2017/18 season having taked over in late October. He spent the 2020/21 season coaching Qatari side Al Khor.