In contrast, Clermont have been edging closer and closer to the elusive prize, never more so than in May when they let the lead slip in the Heineken Cup Final in Dublin by Toulon. It was heartbreaking for a side who thought their time had finally come having previously lost in quarter-finals and semi-finals.
Captain Aurelien Rougerie said: "We had a big disappointment last season but that it behind us now, we must turn the page and look forward to this season. This is a wonderful tournament, we have prepared for it and the atmosphere has been building towards the start of the pool stage.
"But we know we are in a very difficult group that starts with Racing-Metro. They have recruited very well during the summer with some big players arriving in Paris, so it will be very hard for us to reach the quarter-finals."
Welsh British Lions pair Dan Lydiate and Jamie Roberts arrived in the summer and have helped make Stade Yves du Manoir a formidable place to visit this season.
Racing won their first four home games of the Top 14 before they were narrowly beaten 22-20 last week by Grenoble. That loss will have sharpened their focus and in fellow Lion Jonathan Sexton, have a player who knows what it takes to win the Heineken Cup having lifted the trophy three times with Leinster. Two-time winner Ronan O'Gara is also now part of the back-room staff.
Clermont have had a miserable time on the road so far this season, losing their last four away games in the Top 14 since victory on the opening weekend at Biarritz. However the giants from the Massif Central know what it takes to win in the Heineken Cup.