The 2022-2023 season begins on Saturday with a clash between Dijon and AS Saint-Étienne (3 p.m.). The Greens are part of the relegated teams and will seek to join the fight for promotion, which will only make two lucky winners this year. Promoted, relegated, favorites, mode of operation… Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Ligue 2 season.
A week before diving into Ligue 1, French football will resume its rights on Saturday, with the Ligue 2 championship. The season, which will be followed on Amazon Prime, the L’Équipe channel and beIN Sports, is announced more contested than ever. It will start with a clash between Dijon and AS Saint-Étienne. The Saint-Etienne club is one of the favorites for promotion.
The ascent/descent system
With the transition from Ligue 1 to 18 clubs in 2023-2024, this season will be for Ligue 2 clubs, as for elite clubs, that of all dangers. Only two teams will win a ticket for Ligue 1 at the end of the season, since the play-offs are removed. And as four elite teams will be relegated at the end of the season, we must make room for them in Ligue 2. Four second division teams will therefore also be relegated. 20% chance of falling in National, that’s a lot and the clubs have prepared for it.
The favourites: revenge relegated
In terms of a rise in Ligue 1, Laurent Batlles knows how to do it. And it is for this reason that AS Saint-Étienne decided to trust him by appointing him coach of the first team. The 46-year-old technician, who brought Troyes up to the top in 2021, can count on several experienced recruits who know Ligue 2 (Cafaro, Giraudon, Lobry, Briançon).
On the other hand, Saint-Étienne leaves with a few lengths behind: three points less penalty following disciplinary sanctions, four games to be played behind closed doors and a persistent vagueness concerning the sale of the club. Relegated from Ligue 1 like ASSE, FC Metz also wants to make the leap and quickly climb back into the elite.
After the departure of Frédéric Antonetti, it is László Bölöni who will have to bring the club up immediately after relegation, which the Messins had achieved in 2016 and 2019. The people of Lorraine know how to do it but will still have to strengthen in August , with Ismaël Traoré as the only recruit for the moment.
Another force present in this Ligue 2: Paris FC. Pierre Ferracci’s club, which has strengthened with the arrivals of Hamel, Le Cardinal, Lasne, Chahiri and Phiri, has been flirting with the rise for several seasons. But each time impaled on the play-offs in 2019, 2021 and 2022. This season, there will be no play-offs. Maybe now or never for the Parisian club.
For their part, the Girondins de Bordeaux, who saw their maintenance in Ligue 2 confirmed on Wednesday, have fallen behind in recent weeks. The club’s preparation went as if nothing had happened, but the Girondins must restructure their workforce in depth, with many departures and arrivals to be expected.
Among the other favorites, we could mention Caen, with Stéphane Moulin’s second season at the head of the club, Sochaux, which has been growing steadily for four seasons, and to a lesser extent Dijon, Guingamp and Amiens. The Le Havre project, with the arrivals of Mathieu Bodmer (sporting director) and Luka Elsner (coach) and a data shift, will be interesting to follow.
The promoted: maintenance difficult to obtain
On the side of Laval and Annecy, the enthusiasm to find Ligue 2 could help to extricate themselves from the relegation seats and reach 16th place, the first which ensures maintenance. After five seasons in National and a title of third division champion last year, Stade Lavallois will return to the second level of French football, and intends to stay there.
For this, the Mayenne club is counting on the arrival of experienced midfielder Anthony Gonçalves and on continuity with coach Olivier Frapolli. The technician will start his fourth season at the club and celebrate his 100th on the bench with a first match in Ligue 2 on the lawn of Bastia.
Absent from the professional world since 1993, Annecy will return to Ligue 2 after three years of meteoric rise. In National 2 in 2019-2020, the Haute-Savoie club celebrated its promotion to Ligue 2 but now hopes to settle there. The main recruit this summer on the Annecy side, Vincent Pajot, must help the club achieve this.
Day 1 program
Dijon – Saint-Étienne (Saturday at 3 p.m.)
Bordeaux – Valenciennes (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Annecy – Niort (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Bastia – Laval (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Le Havre – Grenoble (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Guingamp – Pau (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Quevilly-Rouen – Rodez (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Metz – Amiens (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Nîmes – Caen (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
Sochaux – Paris FC (Monday at 8:45 p.m.)