Preview: Rennes v SM Caen + Reims v RC Lens
Although Rennes sit 10 places and 12 points above Caen in the Ligue 1 table, you would have to say that the bottom placed club are actually the form team going into Sunday afternoon’s game.
The Breton side has only won once in the last six league games and hasn’t won any of their last three games at the Stade de la Route de Lorient. Caen has picked up four points in their last three games including the win over Reims – who are only two points behind Rennes.
With only two points from a possible 18 away from home, Caen may have better recent form, but Rennes, after their cup win over Reims on Thursday, will be favourites to pick up the three points on Sunday.
Both sides are close to full strength, apart from players on international duty. Despite their toothless performance against Saint-Etienne last week, Rennes are set to start with Ola Toivonen and Chrstian Bruls up front, with Pedro Henrique making up the three.
Gelson Fernandes has been excellent for Philippe Montanier’s men this season and the veteran midfielder will be important this weekend.
For Caen, they will need the energy and drive from N’Golo Kante and the support from Dennis Appiah and Emmanuel Imorou from full-back. Slovan Privat is set to start as their lone striker.
Caen’s last away victory over Rennes came in 2007 when goals from Anthony Deroin and Juan Eluchans gave them a 2-0 second half lead. Mickael Pagis scored a late consolation for the home side.
Victory for Caen would take them out of the relegation zone if other results went their way, but with five points separating the bottom seven, it’s important to stay in touch. Rennes can leapfrog Nice and Nantes with a much needed win, defeat would make it difficult for them to make a run for the top five.
Rennes: 4-3-3 – Costil – Danzé, Mexer, Armand, Diagne – André, Fernandes, Prcic – Bruls, Henrique, Toivonen
Caen: 4-1-4-1 – Vercoutre – Appiah, Yahia, Da Silva, Imorou – Seube – Koita, Kanté, Féret, Nangis – Privat
Reims v Lens
Just about the only positive for both these sides going into Sunday’s game at the Stade Auguste Delaune is that they can’t both lose.
Both Stade de Reims and RC Lens have lost both their last two league games, but at least one of them has to pick up some points on Sunday afternoon. It’s hard to decide which club starts favourite, but with Reims winning six of their 11 home games and Lens only picking up eight points from a possible 33, home advantage may be all Jean-Luc Vasseur needs to pick up the win.
Lens have only ever won three times in 30 attempts in the Champagne region, the last victory came in 2008 with both sides playing in Ligue 2. Goals from Kevin Monnet-Paquet and Toufilou Maoulida came either side of Yann Kermorgant’s strike for the home side to give Les Sang et Or a 2-1 win.
Reims: 3-4-1-2 – Placide – Conte, Tacalfred, Weber – Glombard, Bourillon, Devaux, Signorino – Charbonnier – De Préville, N’Gog
Lens: 4-3-3 – Riou – Cavaré, Gbamin, Kantari, Boulenger – Cyprien, Le Moigne, Valdivia – Chavarria, Guillaume, Coulibaly