MX23RW : Tuesday, June 22 17:55:20| >> :600:233035:233035:
Mar 3, 2021 at 6pm UK at Stade de Gerland
LyonLyon
1-0
RennesRennes
Aouar (74')
Caqueret (41')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Martin (54'), Grenier (61'), Traore (76')

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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Ligue 1 clash between Lyon and Rennes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Rennes begin life without Julien Stephan in the dugout on Wednesday when they travel to title-chasing Lyon for a daunting fixture in Ligue 1.

Both teams are eyeing a return to winning ways in this game, with Lyon drawing with Marseille on Sunday evening, while Rennes' defeat to Nice signalled the end of Stephan's tenure.


Match preview

Lyon coach Rudi Garcia pictured on February 19, 2021© Reuters

Lucas Paqueta went from hero to zero for Lyon in Sunday's Choc des Olympiques with Marseille, as the bright Brazilian provided a sublime assist for Karl Toko Ekambi to break the deadlock on the 21-minute mark, but he then gave away a controversial penalty for handball on the stroke of half time.

Paqueta was adamant that the ball struck his chest and showed the apparent red marks to the referee to no avail, and Arkadiusz Milik marked his return from injury with the equaliser before Paqueta was given his marching orders for a second yellow in the 70th minute.

There were no more goals to be had as Lyon managed to stretch their unbeaten away record to 12 matches, but Rudi Garcia will no doubt view that result as two points dropped rather than one point gained in the title race, especially seeing as Lille also failed to win at the weekend.

Les Gones have now won just one of their last three in the top flight and were leapfrogged by Paris Saint-Germain after their thrashing of Dijon, with Lyon now third in the table and three adrift of Lille, with whom they share an identical goal difference of +30 after 27 matches.

Garcia's men simply cannot afford to lose any more ground in the title race - especially with fourth-placed Monaco now just one point behind them as well - and two of Les Gones' last four league matches at the Groupama Stadium have ended in defeat, although managerless Rennes could prove to be easy pickings amid their current slump.

Rennes head coach Julien Stephan pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Julien Stephan treated the Rennes faithful to a Coupe de France triumph and their first ever venture in the Champions League, but on Monday morning, it was announced that the 40-year-old had stepped down from his post following a truly disheartening set of results.

The Frenchman made a huge impression at the Roazhon Park in the early stages of his managerial career, but the form book does not lie and Rennes have only been heading in one direction since the turn of the year, although a young Stephan should not have any trouble finding another club willing to take him on in the near future.

Caretaker manager Philippe Bizeul is therefore set for a baptism of fire in his inaugural game in the hotseat, and the 50-year-old will likely be running into some familiar faces having served as assistant manager for Lyon B last season, but ending Rennes' seven-game winless run at the Groupama Stadium could prove to be a bridge too far.

Stephan oversaw four successive defeats in all competitions during his final weeks in charge - including a 2-1 home loss to Nice in their most recent outing - and the ninth-placed Rouge et Noir remain three points adrift of fifth spot with a game in hand, so European qualification is not out of the question if Bizeul can mastermind an immediate turnaround in fortunes.

Rennes did manage to hold Lyon to a 2-2 draw in January's meeting, although they were 2-0 up heading into the final 15 minutes before Memphis Depay and Jason Denayer struck, and the visitors have actually won their last three in the league on Les Gones' turf - keeping a clean sheet each time.

Lyon Ligue 1 form: WWWLWD
Lyon form (all competitions): WWWLWD

Rennes Ligue 1 form: LDDLLL
Rennes form (all competitions): DDLLLL


Team News

Lyon's Jason Denayer celebrates with teammates after scoring against Rennes on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Lyon playmaker Paqueta will watch this game from the sidelines after his red card against Marseille, so Bruno Guimaraes is the most likely candidate for his spot in the engine room.

Marcelo returned from injury for Lyon at the weekend, meaning that Garcia has an empty treatment room at this crucial point of the season, but he may be tempted to rotate after a disappointing showing on Sunday.

Maxence Caqueret and Mattia De Sciglio are both options for change if the hosting manager does shuffle the pack, but Melvin Bard continues to be overlooked at left-back.

Rennes will welcome Faitout Maouassa back from suspension for this game, and the well-rested left-back could return in place of Adrien Truffert this week.

It remains to be seen how Bizeul will set his side up for his maiden match in the Rennes dugout, but Benjamin Bourigeaud is holding our for a recall after only appearing as a substitute against Nice.

Lyon possible starting lineup:
Lopes; Dubois, Denayer, Marcelo, De Sciglio; Mendes, Guimaraes, Caqueret; Kadewere, Depay, Toko Ekambi

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Aguerd, Da Silva, Maouassa; Nzonzi, Camavinga, Bourigeaud; Del Castillo, Guirassy, Terrier


SM words green background

We say: Lyon 2-0 Rennes

A classic case of the new manager bounce phenomenon would go down extremely well with the Rennes faithful this week, but Bizeul could hardly have been handed a more difficult opening task. Lyon ought to be fired up following the controversial manner of their draw with Marseille in the derby, and given Rennes' woeful form, we can only see Les Gones returning to winning ways on their own turf, despite their poor recent record in this fixture.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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 3.5:data


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Lyon's Bruno Guimaraes in action with Lille's Renato Sanches in Ligue 1 on March 8, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1 382411364234183
2 38264886285882
3 38246876423478
4 382210681433876
5 381612105447760
6 3816101252401258
7 381512115554157
8 381412126062-254
9 38157165053-352
10 381211154448-447
11 381210164254-1246
12 38136194256-1445
13 38128184058-1844
14 38915144250-842
15 38119184958-942
16 38119185068-1842
17 38118195066-1641
18 38913164755-840
19 3898214071-3135
20 3849252573-4821

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