Les Canaris ended 2020 with a dismal 3-0 defeat to table-toppers Lyon, whereas Rennes marched to their fourth victory in a row with a 1-0 triumph over Metz.
More than 10 years after overseeing France's ill-fated stint at the 2010 World Cup, 68-year-old Domenech returns to the dugout looking to weave his magic at a Nantes side edging closer to the dotted line.
Domenech's first task is a challenging one, though, with Nantes aiming to end an eight-game losing streak in the French top flight against a Rennes team who have managed to get their European charge back on track recently.
Les Canaris are gearing up for a daunting start to the year and their final game of 2020 would not have given their fans much confidence heading into 2021 either, with Nantes losing 3-0 to Lyon as Patrick Collot's time as interim manager came to an end.
Despite setting up in an unrecognised 5-4-1 formation, Lyon breached the Canaris defence three times in the first half through Karl Toko Ekambi, Tino Kadewere and Lucas Paqueta, with that result leaving Nantes three points above the drop zone in 16th.
Only Dijon (2) have mustered fewer wins than Nantes (3) in the league this term, and Domenech is fighting an uphill battle to end Nantes's five-game winless streak at the Stade de la Beaujoire in his inaugural game.
In contrast, Rennes's run of disheartening results between October and November is firmly in the past, and Julien Stephan's side have propelled themselves back into title contention once again.
Les Rouge et Noir's early Champions League exit appears to have done wonders for their league fortunes as they triumphed four times on the bounce - with seven goals scored and only two conceded - before the Christmas break.
Metz did not make life easy for Rennes in their final game of 2020, but Stephan's men eventually got over the line thanks to a rare goal from Clement Grenier - his first since August 2019.
Les Rouge et Noir moved back into the top four with that win, although Marseille are only three points behind with two games in hand, and Rennes cannot rise any higher with a fifth victory in a row this week.
Nantes did manage to triumph in this fixture last season courtesy of an Abdoulaye Toure winner, but that narrow victory is the only time that they have prevailed against Rennes in their last 14 attempts.
Nantes Ligue 1 form: LLDLDL
Rennes Ligue 1 form: DLWWWW
Rennes form (all competitions): LLWWWW
In contrast, Rennes's infirmary is still well-occupied despite a two-week break, with Faitout Maouassa the latest addition due to a shoulder injury he picked up in the win over Lorient last month.
It would be harsh to drop Grenier following his well-taken goal against Metz, so Eduardo Camavinga may have to make do with a spot on the bench again.
Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Fabio, Pallois, Girotto, Traore; Abeid, Toure; Louza, Blas, Simon; Kolo Muani
Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Aguerd, Da Silva, Truffert; Nzonzi, Grenier, Bourigeaud; Doku, Niang, Terrier
We say: Nantes 0-2 Rennes
It remains to be seen how the ever-controversial Domenech will set up for his maiden game in the Nantes dugout, and the hosts will be boosted by a couple of returns from suspensions. However, Rennes are in a terrific spell of form and are historically strong in this fixture, so we cannot see any other result than a routine win for the visitors in their first match of 2021.