Girard to welcome prodigal son Giroud
Montpellier coach Rene Girard is awaiting a reunion with striker Olivier Giroud after beating drawn against Arsenal in the Champions League.
France international Giroud helped Girard's Montpellier to a surprise Ligue 1 title success last term, before joining Arsenal in the close season.
The striker will now face his former colleagues after Arsenal and Montpellier were drawn in Group B of the Champions League, along with Schalke and Olympiacos.
Speaking after the group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday, Girard said he was cautiously optimistic about Montpellier's chances of progressing, but knows they will face a stern challenge to do so.
"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."
Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren felt there was an air of inevitability about Giroud's return to face his former club, and said the team will not be giving their old colleague any special treatment.
"It is a small sign of destiny," he said.
"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."
Jourdren talked of his excitement about the campaign ahead and believes Montpellier should not be underestimated, despite being written off by sections of the media following a slow start to their Ligue 1 title defence.
"Now that the draw has taken place, we realise that we are in the Champions League for real," he said.
"We will give our all. In this group, anyone can beat anyone."
Montpellier begin their European campaign at home to Arsenal on September 18.