Back in the Ligue 1 after a seven-year hiatus from the French top flight, Strasbourg have had quite a time in recent years. After being relegated to the fourth tier of the French football due to liquidation, the club are now back in the Ligue 1, winning back to back promotions. Not just that, the six-time French champions are determined towards building for the future. Having secured Thierry Laurey’s services last season, the club possess the exciting talent of Kamara, who is rated highly among Europe’s elite. Strasbourg are among the elite six French clubs to have won all three major trophies on offer in the country. They have played in more than 2,000 games in their history. While expectations will arguably be of staying up, Strasbourg will be hoping to continue their newly found stability as they look to re-establish themselves in French football.
4) Girona FC
Though this season would be Girona’s first appearance in the Spanish top flight, the club should not be taken for granted. After all, in Manchester City, Girona have found a new partner. City boast one of the best academies in world football and have produced the likes of Marlos Moreno and Aleix Garcia, both of whom have joined the club on loan to gain some valuable experience. Moreover, with CristhianStuani and Iarizoz also joining, there is a right mix of talent and experience in the team. Their opening day performance against Atletico Madrid only further enhanced their quality and determination to stay at the top for the foreseeable future.
3) Hellas Verona
Verona’s last affair in the Serie A ended before it could properly begin as the club were relegated after just three seasons in the top flight. Their manner of exit was even more embarrassing as the club had to wait until matchday 23 to register their first win. Nevertheless, the club are now up and running again and have looked to eschew last time’s mistakes. Alessio Cerci and Pazzini’s presence will help the club’s loanees and youngsters settle in at the club. While a mid-table finish would be a big ask for Verona, avoiding another fiasco would be the top priority for manager, Fabio Pecchia.
Die Roten’s fall from grace has been one of the top stories of German football in recent years. The Bundesliga champions in ’07, the club possessed some of Germany’s best players in Mario Gomez. However, a failed transfer strategy and planning saw club’s stars leave perennially. After flirting with relegation for a couple of years, Stuttgart were finally relegated two years ago. Nevertheless, the club are now back where they truly belong. Consistency would be the key for Hannes Wolf’s men as they look to avoid relegation this season. Holger Badstuber’s signing could prove decisive as the German, despite his injuries, will provide great experience and leadership skills.
1) Huddersfield Town
David Wagner is the latest addition to Germany’s fine line of young coaches. Wagner has brought with him Jurgen Klopp’s famous Gegenpress. The club too have bought into Wagner’s methods. The unity was on display in the 3-0 thrashing of Frank De Boer’s Palace on opening day and again, this time against Newcastle United. Having made astute signings like Mounie, who scored twice on opening day, the club look good enough to avoid relegation. A reoccurrence of last season’s poor second half showing would be the only thing Huddersfield would hope to avoid.