MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 17:18:06| >> :600:812515:812515:
Aug 22, 2020 at 8pm UK at Stade Pierre-Mauroy
LilleLille
1-1
RennesRennes
Bamba (40')
Mandava (43')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Da Silva (74')
Tait (88')
Boey (35')

Preview: Lille vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Lille and Rennes, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two sides separated by just one point following the curtailment of last season will meet in the opening round of fixtures for the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign as Lille play host to Rennes on Saturday.

Lille finished fourth when the French football season was abruptly ended, while Rennes secured third spot and a route into the Champions League.


Match preview

Lille coach Christophe Galtier pictured on November 5, 2019© Reuters

Lille were enjoying a terrific spell of form before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the sporting landscape, and Les Dogues were ultimately forced to settle for a spot in the Europa League when the season was abruptly ended.

Christophe Galtier witnessed his side pick up six wins from their last seven in the French top flight last term - including five clean sheets from their last six - and Lille will be more determined than ever to break into the top three and pave the way for a return to Champions League football this time around.

Furthermore, Galtier's men only suffered two home defeats during the 2019-20 campaign, but the Ligue 1 outfit suffered mixed fortunes in their recent pre-season friendlies.

Indeed, Lille suffered back-to-back 2-1 defeats against AZ Alkmaar and Brest in their last outings, although Les Dogues managed to triumph over Anderlecht and Royal Excel Mouscron earlier in the summer.

Stade Rennes' M'Baye Niang celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 18, 2019© Reuters

Meanwhile, the Rennes squad of 2019-20 etched their names into the history books as Les Rouge et Noir qualified for the Champions League for the first time in the club's 119-year history.

Rennes ended their campaign in perfect fashion with a 5-0 drubbing of Montpellier prior to the shutdown, and even though Julien Stephan's side only managed to pick up one win from their last four away from home, their total of 50 points from 28 matches was enough to see them pip their weekend opponents to the third and final Champions League spot.

While the Rennes faithful will no doubt be eagerly anticipating their team's endeavours against the European elite, Stephan's men must focus on the task at hand against Lille as they bid to pick up where they left off in the French top flight.

Unlike a number of clubs who saw their pre-season plans ravaged by coronavirus outbreaks, Rennes played out six friendles in preparation for the new campaign - winning four of them but succumbing to a 3-2 defeat against Nice in their most recent outing.

Lille triumphed 1-0 in this fixture last season courtesy of a Loic Remy winner, and Les Dogues have only tasted defeat once in their last 15 home matches in all competitions against Rennes.


Team News

Gent's Jonathan David celebrates scoring their first goal on February 27, 2020© Reuters

Lille's only injury concern at the minute is striker Timothy Weah, who is struggling with a hamstring injury but is now stepping up his recovery ahead of the new season.

Lille have already lost one of their most prized assets as Victor Osimhen secured a big-money move to Napoli, while highly-rated defender Gabriel Magalhaes appears to be inching closer towards signing for Arsenal.

Should Galtier opt for his favoured 4-4-2 formation from the back end of last season, Jonathan David could be partnered up top by another new arrival in Burak Yilmaz, with the veteran striker having recently joined from Besiktas.

As for Rennes, Stephan has a relatively clean bill of health for the opening-day showdown with Lille.

The Champions League contenders have a highly-rated protege of their own in Eduardo Camavinga, who has been frequently linked with a move to Real Madrid, but the 17-year-old is still among the ranks at Rennes and could start here.

Martin Terrier, who recently joined on a five-year deal from Lyon, is in contention to start on the left-hand side of a front three.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Ikone, Andre, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yilmaz

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Traore, Da Silva, Aguerd, Maouassa; Camavinga, Bourigeaud, Martin; Raphinha, Niang, Terrier


SM words green background

We say: Lille 2-1 Rennes

The clash between Lille and Rennes promises to be a mouth-watering showdown between two sides looking to pick up where they left off at the end of last season. Lille boast an incredible home record against their weekend opponents, and while Osimhen's departure is sure to affect them going forward, we still expect Galtier's men to scrape a narrow victory and take all three points this Saturday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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JapanJapan124521
ChinaChina115824
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
AustraliaAustralia61916
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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