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Brest Is On An INCREDIBLE Run In Ligue 1

5 minute read Published April 11, 2024

When you think of Brittany you think of oysters, dry ciders and a beautiful, quaint countryside. Along the northern coast of Brittany and, indeed, of France, lies Brest. The third largest city in the region that houses a huge naval base and lives off the sea. 

This season, very much to everyone's surprise, Brest is also home to the second best team in France. The best of the rest, as it were. 

Position Team GD Points
1 PSG 41 63
2 Brest 18 53
3 Monaco 15 52

Now called Stade Brestois 29, the club that was known as Brest Armorique for a spell in the 80s was founded in 1950. On June 5th, five local clubs joined forces, creating the new club. It has a varied history with spells in the first division as well as a dissolution of the professional football operations in 1991, after which the club spent more than a decade in the lower leagues of France. Until 2004, when someone special came through their own academy – Franck Ribery.

With Ribery in the team, they were able to take the step up to Ligue 2 where they spent six seasons until they finally reached the  After a couple of turns back and forth between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, they’re now in their fifth season in the first division.

For the first four seasons in this current top tier spell, they’ve consistently finished in the lower half of the table. That’s until today. Today, the little team from northern France are second in Ligue 1. What’s happened?

Season Position
19/20 14
20/21 15
21/22 11
22/23 14
23/24 2*

Summer Transfer Window

In the summer, on a shoestring budget, the club brought in several players who’ve had an impact on their season. The club spent €3.5 million in total. Central midfielder Mahdi Camara came in from Saint-Etienne for almost the entire budget, €3 million. Together with Jonas Martin who came in on a free transfer after his contract at Lille was up, he’s made up two thirds of the Brest midfield. 

The remaining €500 thousand was spent on 21 year old Bradley Locko. Locko has the second most minutes of any player in the team. Money well spent.

No player has a massive goal tally for the year. Kamory Doumbia who came in on loan from Reims before the season is their current top scorer. He’s on equal goals, six, with Romain Del Castillo who’s been with the club for a few seasons.

Brest is not a rich team. Only one team spent less in the transfer window, newly promoted Le Havre FC. And now they’re going up against giants like PSG, Monaco and Lille who have spent €349 million, €85 million and €39 million, respectively. Compare that to €3.5 million. A tenth of Lille, a twentieth of Monaco and a hundredth of PSG!


Brest has had some good fortune when it comes to injuries to its backline this season. The entire back four as well as Pierre Lees-Melou, who’s the third and defensively minded part to the three man midfield, have been playing almost every game. 

Speaking of defence. Playing at centre back is 29 year old Brendan Chardonnet. The Brest born footballer has played his entire career at Brest and is the team's captain. 

This is reflected in the team's defensive record. The team has conceded the second fewest goals of all teams in Ligue 1 this season, 23. Offensively the team is decent, but clearly lacking a main man. A goal scorer. At least someone who’ll get double digits. They’ve scored less than PSG, Monaco as well as Lille, in fourth.

What’s changed

It was after the November international break that the team really took off. In 2024, the team has taken just one point less than PSG. They’ve also only lost a single game – to PSG. So what changed? 

Well, the team has chosen a slightly different approach to many Ligue 1 teams. Rather than focusing on youth, Brest has one of the older teams in the league. At 26.4 years, they’re the third oldest team on average. Just 0.2 years younger than the oldest team. 

Coach Eric Roy also likes to keep the squad tight. Brest have used the fewest number of players of all Ligue 1 teams this season. He’s used only 23 players and out of those, five have made less than a game's minutes worth of appearances. 

With an experienced team that repeatedly plays together, they are able to perform at a very consistent level. Every player knows what to expect from one another. So, their recipe for success seems to be consistency. Not some fancy new system like Xabi Alonso at Leverkusen, or a cash infusion like Newcastle.

Looking ahead

Brest is just one point ahead of Monaco. To add to the drama, the two teams take each other two weeks (21st of April, mark it in your calendars!)

Other than that game, both teams play mid table teams for the remaining games of the season. Neither team has any cup games to worry about. Plus Lille is four points behind in fourth and Nice, who have fallen slightly off the pace after a great start to the season, have 44 points in fifth. Both still could technically overtake Brest.

However, France have three Champions League spots next season. With that in mind, the odds for little Brest making it to Europe and even the highest rated club competition in the world are looking very good. It’d be an absolutely amazing achievement. Allez!


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