MX23RW : Thursday, April 22 20:01:38| >> :600:348800:348800:
Feb 21, 2021 at 12pm UK at Stade de la Mosson
MontpellierMontpellier HSC
2-1
RennesRennes
Mavididi (17', 27')
Savanier (23')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Guirassy (78')
Da Silva (64'), Maouassa (89')

Preview: Montpellier HSC vs. Rennes - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Montpellier HSC and Rennes, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh from a memorable victory at title challengers Lyon, Montpellier HSC will be aiming to continue their revival against an out-of-sorts Rennes on Saturday lunchtime.

The hosts have won their last three in a row across all competitions, whereas Rennes are hoping to avoid a fifth game without victory in the top flight.


Match preview

Montpellier manager Michel Der Zakarian pictured in February 2020© Reuters

It may be a case of too little too late for Montpellier, but their supporters will no doubt be looking ahead to the rest of the campaign with a sense of renewed optimism following two wins and a draw from their last three outings in Ligue 1.

Indeed, Michel der Zakarian's men followed up wins over Dijon and Strasbourg (in the league and Coupe de France respectively) with a historic 2-1 win on Lyon's turf, as Teji Savanier and Elye Wahi - the latter of whom is now being linked with Arsenal - fired Montpellier to a magnificent triumph.

La Paillade had tried and failed to win nine times in Ligue 1 before February rolled around, but with Andy Delort back in the team, Montpellier have reignited a late charge for a European place, although they remain three points adrift of fifth-placed Rennes having played a game more.

However, Delort - who already boasts nine goals and seven assists in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign - had to be forced off at half time against Lyon as his hamstring problem flared up again. It remains to be seen how long the talismanic striker will be sidelined for, but another spell in the treatment room would undoubtedly halt Montpellier's momentum.

Nevertheless, Der Zakarian's men will move level on points with Rennes - who boast a superior goal difference - if they can win in the absence of Delort, but they have not kept a clean sheet at home all season and Rennes will not want to be usurped without a fight.

Rennes manager Julien Stephan pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Rennes' domestic form understandably dropped off when they had to take Champions League fixtures into account as well, but their recent winless run is certainly all the more alarming for Julien Stephan.

Les Rouge et Noir have played eight games since the turn of the year, and only one has ended in victory - a 2-1 triumph over Brest on January 17 - and Stephan's side have failed to win any of their last five across all competitions.

A dampening Coupe de France exit to Angers was followed up by yet another dismal defeat to a resurgent Saint-Etienne team, who stormed to a 2-0 win last weekend thanks to goals from Denis Bouanga and Arnaud Nordin, and Rennes' European ambitions are now under serious threat.

A title charge is nigh on impossible for the visitors now, with an 11-point chasm separating them from fourth-placed Monaco - who have played a game more - while sixth-placed Lens and seventh-placed Marseille are only one point behind Rennes and ready to pounce on any further slip-ups.

However, Stephan's men are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Montpellier and claimed a 2-1 win over their opponents earlier in the season, while a victory here would mark their fourth in a row over La Paillade.

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: LLLDWW
Montpellier HSC form (all competitions): LLDWWW

Rennes Ligue 1 form: DWLDDL
Rennes form (all competitions): WLDDLL


Team News

Rennes' Clement Grenier celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 9, 2021© Reuters

The extent of Delort's injury is unclear at the time of writing, but the 29-year-old is not expected to turn out this weekend, so Wahi may be given a chance from the first whistle.

The hosts also lost Mihailo Ristic to an adductor injury in the Lyon victory, and while his problem is not serious, Ambroise Oyongo has made a timely return to training and could deputise on the left.

Aside from replacing the injured duo, Der Zakarian has no reason to fix what is not broken after their shock win at the Groupama Stadium.

Clement Grenier was enjoying an unforeseen revival in the Rennes XI before sustaining a muscular problem, but the midfielder has recovered and could be in line for a return this weekend.

Romain Del Castillo also missed out against Saint-Etienne due to concussion but may also be cleared to feature in this one, while Steven Nzonzi is expected to return to the first XI after being benched last Sunday.

Teenage protege Eduardo Camavinga has come under some criticism for his performances as of late, but there is little chance of the Real Madrid-linked midfielder being dropped for this one.

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Sambia, Hilton, Congre, Oyongo; Ferri; Mavididi, Savanier, Mollet, Laborde; Wahi

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Da Silva, Aguerd, Maouassa; Doku, Nzonzi, Camavinga, Bourigeaud; Grenier; Guirassy


SM words green background

We say: Montpellier HSC 1-1 Rennes

The last thing that Der Zakarian needed amid his side's revival was another injury to star man Delort, and 18-year-old Wahi has some big boots to fill during the Algerian's absence. Rennes will be aware of Montpellier's defensive frailties at home but are hardly in good form themselves, although we still expect the visitors to do enough for a point at the Stade de la Mosson.



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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Eduardo Camavinga in action for Rennes on October 23, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG33223874254969
3MonacoMonaco33215770383268
4Lyon331910465323367
5Lens33141185245753
6Marseille33141094641552
7Rennes33149104335851
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Metz331110123638-243
10Nice33127144144-343
11Reims33914103838041
12Angers33118143450-1641
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne33109143850-1239
14StrasbourgStrasbourg33107164251-937
15Brest33107164556-1137
16Bordeaux33106173548-1336
17Lorient3388174061-2132
18Nimes3387183260-2831
19NantesNantes33513153351-1828
20Dijon3339212256-3418

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