Metz were promoted back to Ligue 1 for the 2023/24 season after finishing as Ligue 2 runners-up last season.
The 2023/24 Ligue 1 — also known as Ligue 1 Uber Eats for sponsorship reasons — is the 86th season of the Ligue 1, France’s premier football competition.
The season began on the 11th of August 2023 and will conclude on the 18th of May 2024.
A total of 18 teams are participating in the 2023/24 edition of the Ligue 1.
In June 2021, the LFP voted overwhelmingly at its general assembly to contract Ligue 1 back to 18 clubs for the 2023/24 season by relegating four and promoting two from Ligue 2 after 2022/23.
Paris Saint-Germain are the defending champions after winning a record-breaking 11th title last season.
Auxerre, Ajaccio, Troyes and Angers were relegated, while Le Havre and Metz were promoted after finishing first and second in the 2022/23 Ligue 2, respectively.
In this piece, FootballOrbit brings you the profile of the two newly promoted sides.
Le Havre secured promotion after emerging as Ligue 2 winners for the 2022/23 season. They return to the top flight after a 14-year absence.
Fully known as Le Havre Athletic Club, it is based in Le Havre, Normandy. The football club was founded in 1894 as a section of the sports club of the same name, founded in 1884.
It is nicknamed Le club doyen (The Dean Club) and plays at the 25,178 capacity Stade Océane Stadium. The President is Vincent Volpe, while the manager is Luka Elsner.
Le Havre made its football debut in France’s first-ever championship in 1899 and, on its debut, became the first French club outside Paris to win the league. The club won the title again the following season in 1900.
Le Havre has yet to win the current first division of French football (Ligue 1) yet they have managed to win the second division (Ligue 2) for a record six times.
Additionally, the club’s highest honour to date was winning the Coupe de France in 1959.
The club is famous for its notable youth investment program which develops and nurtures young talent, with the vision of using them in the first team if they show enough promise.
A vast amount of good young talent has gone on to make an impact at international level including: Riyad Mahrez, Paul Pogba, Benjamin Mendy, Ibrahim Ba, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Lassana Diarra, Steve Mandanda, Vikash Dhorasoo and Dimitri Payet.
The club was on the receiving end of some high-profile illegal transfers, by which Charles N’Zogbia, Matthias Lepiller and Paul Pogba were signed by other clubs, allegedly without the proper compensation being paid. The first two were arbitrated by FIFA, who ordered Newcastle United and Fiorentina to pay training compensation.
In the 2022/23 Ligue 2, Le Havre finished top of the league table to win their 6th second division title and secured automatic promotion to the Ligue 1 for the first time since 2008.
The main rivalries of Le Havre are the “Derby Normand” with SM Caen and an always heated clash with Lens, located in the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Metz secured automatic promotion to Ligue 1 after finishing as runners-up in the 2nd division. They return to the top flight after just a single season absence.
Known fully as Football Club de Metz, it is based in Metz, Lorraine. The club was formed in 1932 and plays its home matches at the 25,636 capacity Stade Saint-Symphorien.
Nicknamed Les Grenats (The Maroons), the club’s President is Bernard Serin, while László Bölöni is the current manager.
The club played in the French second division north from 1933, winning the league in 1935 and earning promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time.
However, the team became a mid-table side in the first division until the outbreak of the Second World War interfered with play once more.
During World War II, the Moselle département being annexed by Germany, the club had to play under the Germanised name of FV Metz in the Gauliga Westmark. In the three completed seasons of this league from 1941 to 1944, the club finished runners-up each year.
Despite the city of Metz being retaken by allied forces in autumn 1944, the club did not take part in French league football in 1944/45 but returned to Ligue 1 in 1945/46, to come 17th out of 18 clubs.
An expansion of the league to 20 clubs meant, the team was not relegated and stayed at the highest level until 1950, when a last place finish ended its Ligue 1 membership.
Metz was allowed to stay within Ligue 1, though, as a special privilege due to its catastrophic situation in the year following the war: the stadium had been damaged, almost beyond repair. The team had to start from scratch once again.
The club rebounded immediately, finishing second in Ligue 2, behind Lyon and returned to the first division. FC Metz made a strong return to this league, finishing 5th in its first season back.
After this, the club once more had to battle against relegation season-by-season, finishing second-last in 1958 and having to return to Ligue 2.
It took three seasons in this league before it could manage to return to Ligue 1 in 1961, but lasted for only one year in the top flight. The club spent the next five seasons at second division level.
Metz ascended to the top level of French football once more in 1967; the team remained in the highest division until they were relegated in 2001, although they bounced back immediately and returned to the Ligue 1 the following year.
In 2006, they were relegated from Ligue 1, finishing at the bottom of the table.
At the end of the 2011/12 season, Metz finished 18th in Ligue 2 and were relegated to the Championnat National, the third tier of French football.
Metz spent only one season at this level, rebuilding a team with iconic former player Albert Cartier as coach, winning promotion to Ligue 2, and then immediately finishing first and winning promotion to Ligue 1.
Unfortunately, the team was relegated again to Ligue 2, but won promotion the next season. This time, Metz managed to secure a 14th place finish, ensuring another season in Ligue 1.
For the 2017/18 Ligue 1 season, they endured a horrid campaign, losing eleven out of their first twelve matches. The club recovered later in the season but finished bottom of the table and were relegated back to Ligue 2.
On the 26th of April 2019, Metz were promoted back to Ligue 1 at the first time of asking after finishing first in Ligue 2. In the club’s first season back in the top flight, they finished 15th on the table followed by an improved 10th place finish the following season.
In the 2021/22 Ligue 1 season, they finished 19th and were relegated back to Ligue 2. The club were promoted back to Ligue 1 after finishing as Ligue 2 runners-up last season.
Furthermore, Metz is highly regarded in France (and Europe) for its successful youth academy, which produced star players including: Rigobert Song, Robert Pires, Louis Saha, Emmanuel Adebayor, Papiss Cissé, Miralem Pjanić, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Sadio Mané.