Montpellier boss Girard revels in 'fabulous' Champions League draw

Having led his side to the Ligue 1 title last year, the 58-year-old insists his side have what it takes to upset the odds in Group B of Europe's elite club tournament
Rene Girard has revelled in Montpellier's debut Champions League campaign, as the side aim to make it an unsuccessful return to Stade de la Mosson for last year's top goalscorer Olivier Giroud.

The France striker guided La Paillade to a shock Ligue 1 title in the previous campaign, but will face his former colleagues with new club Arsenal. Schalke and Olympiacos are the two remaining sides in Group B.

Speaking after Thursday's draw in Monaco, Girard was optimistic about the outfit's chances of progression to the group stages, but also wary of the threats that their opponents pose.

"It could be worse," the coach told reporters. I think Arsenal are a great team in Europe, it's fabulous.

"Olympiacos has a very passionate home support and Schalke play open German football."

Goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren felt there was an air of inevitability that Giroud would return to face his former club, but nonetheless warned that he will be not be giving the forward any favours ahead of their Champions League opener.

"It is a small sign of destiny," he remarked. "We are pleased, but it must be even more for us.

"He will probably be welcomed, but on the field, we will not be friends."

However, the custodian talked of his excitement about the upcoming campaign and believes Montpellier should not be underestimated, despite being written off by sections of the media.

"Now that the draw has taken place, we realise that we are in the Champions League for real. We will give our all. In this group, anyone can beat anyone."

Montpellier begin their European adventure at home to Arsenal on September 18.