OL's party in June, Bruno Genesio begins a decisive week with his club Beijing Guo'an, with whom he can become the first French technician to win the championship of China.
It would also be the first title of champion just as a coach for the native of Lyon. And a revenge for the one who left his heart club in bad terms, hated a part of the fans despite good results.
Two days from the end, Beijing Guo'an is currently second (64 points) in the Super League Championship, two units of Guangzhou Evergrande led by former Italian international and world champion Fabio Cannavaro.
Recruited with the mission to "win the title", Genesio has two more matches to achieve this: Wednesday at 19:35 (11H35 GMT) against the R & M Guangzhou R & F Belgian Mousa Dembélé, then Sunday at 15H00 (07H00 GMT) against Shandong Luneng d another red Devil, Marouane Fellaini.
Called by the Chinese media "Bulunuo" (pronounced "Boulounouo"), a phonetic translation of his first name, the 53-year-old coach was skeptical when he arrived in late July.
"The average football fan in China has probably never heard of him, his name is little known internationally," said Cameron Wilson, founder of the website Wild East Football and specialist of Chinese football .
"Bruno who?", Wondered even the Beijing daily Xinjingbao, which however recognized the coach a reputation as "youth trainer" and "revealing the potential of players."
- "Unrealistic expectations" -
Since then, the Chinese press regularly praises its "offensive ambitions" or its "tactical choices" that allow it to post a satisfactory record after eight games: 5 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw.
Bruno Genesio had inherited a complicated situation.
Beijing had won the first 10 games of the championship under its predecessor, the German Roger Schmidt (ex-Bayer Leverkusen) ... which was dismissed unceremoniously at the first downgrade of the team.
"It shows that management has unrealistic expectations," notes Wilson. Although the Guo'an regularly ranks first in the Super League (4th last year), he won the championship in its current form only once, in 2009, (for 6 titles in all of champion of China).
Like OL, multiple champion of France in the 2000s before entering the ranks against PSG Qatari version, the Beijing club is outclassed for 10 years by clubs more spendthrift.
The Shanghai SIPG (where Hulk and Oscar evolve), but especially the Guangzhou Evergrande (Paulinho) have thus trusteed the titles, including the second, six-time champion between 2011 and 2017.
Genesio has also lost home games against rivals, "so he has not really won the hearts of Beijing fans," said sports columnist Jin Shan.
- Little chance -
Beijing has a competitive team, with Brazilian international Renato Augusto (13 goals this season) and former Congolese FC Sochaux and Villarreal Cédric Bakambu (8 goals).
"However, Guo'an's chances of winning the title are, let's be honest, close to zero," Wilson said.
The task promises to be difficult. In the last two games, Bruno Genesio's men will face two strong teams, while Guangzhou Evergrande will play two low-scoring formations.
Another difficulty: Guo'an must finish with more points than his rival. Because in China, it is not the difference of goals that tie two clubs tied, but the direct confrontation round-trip, that Beijing has lost.
"The most important is to focus on our game. It will happen what will happen," said Genesio, philosopher, the previous day, after the "classico" Chinese won (2-1) against the Shanghai Shenhua, the former club of Didier Drogba.
Title or not, the contract of the French coach will end early December. Extend there? Nothing indicates it.
Especially since according to press reports, Bruno Genesio is currently being courted by Everton (16th in the Premier League), in great difficulty and who could offer him his first experience in England.
© 2019 AFP