MX23RW : Sunday, April 18 04:49:46| >> :600:137997:137997:
Feb 26, 2021 at 8pm UK at Route de Lorient
RennesRennes
1-2
NiceNice
Terrier (39')
Stephan (45')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Gouiri (19' pen.), Daniliuc (58')
Nsoki (37'), Todibo (56')

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

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

Two Ligue 1 teams aiming to end truly dismal spells of form in the top flight will do battle at the Roazhon Park on Friday evening as Rennes play host to Nice.

Both sides fell to defeat in the previous round of matches, with Julien Stephan's side coming up short at Montpellier HSC while Nice were put to the sword by Metz.


Match preview

Rennes head coach Julien Stephan pictured in February 2021© Reuters

A promising end to 2020 and solid start to 2021 has been consigned to history for Rennes, who are now only in with a slim chance of qualifying for European competition after previously being tipped to dethrone Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the campaign.

Stephan has now witnessed his team lose their last three matches in all competitions and they are winless since beating Brest 2-1 on January 17 - their only triumph of the calendar year so far - and a resurgent Montpellier moved level on points with Rennes by beating them 2-1 at the weekend.

Even with star striker Andy Delort sidelined yet again through injury, Stephy Mavididi took it upon himself to fill the Algerian's boots and put Montpellier 2-0 up before half time with a well-taken brace, with Rennes unable to threaten a comeback even though Serhou Guirassy netted with 10 minutes remaining.

As the only team inside the top half of the table without a win to boast from any of their last five matches, Les Rouge et Noir have slipped to eighth in the rankings - level on points with Marseille and Metz - while fifth-placed Lens are two points clear of Rennes in the final European spot, although they have played a game more.

Therefore, Stephan's side would break back into the European places with a long-awaited victory on their own turf, although they are winless in four on home soil since the turn of the year and have kept just one league clean sheet at the Roazhon Park all season, so Nice will be making the long journey north feeling capable of ending their own rut.

Nice manager Adrian Ursea pictured in February 2021© Reuters

A respectable performance against PSG had the Nice faithful looking ahead to the rest of the campaign with cautious optimism, but their recent results serve as proof that Les Aiglons' problems are still very much alive.

After an enthralling 3-2 defeat to Marseille - in which Amine Gouiri hit the post with a free kick right at the death - Adrian Ursea's men fell to a third defeat on the bounce against European outsiders Metz, who struck through Kiki Kouyate and Lamine Gueye before Gouiri added a consolation for Nice.

Twenty-one-year old Gouiri has been nothing short of sensational for Nice this term with 13 goals and five assists in all competitions, but his individual brilliance has not been able to prevent Les Aiglons from slipping further down the rankings as fears of a relegation dogfight start to creep in again.

Having lost five of their last six in the top flight - as well as winning just two of their last 12 - Ursea's side have slumped to 16th in the table and are just six points clear of the bottom three, although something has to give when 18th-placed Lorient take on 19th-placed Nimes on Wednesday evening.

A 1-0 triumph at the Allianz Riviera in December represented the first time since 2015 that Rennes had won a league match against Nice, and Les Aiglons are unbeaten in their last five journeys to the Roazhon Park - claiming a 2-1 win in this fixture last season.

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

Nice Ligue 1 form: LLWLLL
Nice form (all competitions): LWWLLL


Team News

Eduardo Camavinga in action for Rennes on October 23, 2020© Reuters

Rennes lost Martin Terrier and captain Damien Da Silva to injury during the defeat to Montpellier, and it remains to be seen if the duo will recover in time for Friday, so Gerzino Nyamsi and Romain Del Castillo are on standby.

Stephan's side enjoyed a spate of good results when a rejuvenated Clement Grenier lined up behind the striker, and with the 30-year-old returning from injury to assist Guirassy in Sunday's defeat, he has a strong chance of returning to the starting lineup.

Eduardo Camavinga was dropped from the first XI at the weekend after an underwhelming performance against Saint-Etienne on February 14, but the 18-year-old will hope to come back for the visit of Nice.

As well as long-term absentees Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Dante, Nice recently lost attacker Rony Lopes to a hamstring problem, and he is expected to remain sidelined for another couple of weeks.

Kasper Dolberg has endured a torrid season and recently underwent an operation for appendicitis, but the Danish striker is nearing a comeback after returning to training.

Full-backs Jordan Lotomba and Youcef Atal have outside chances of returning for this one, but it would be a surprise to see either player included from the off.

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Nyamsi, Aguerd, Truffert; Doku, Nzonzi, Camavinga, Bourigeaud; Grenier; Guirassy

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Pelmard, Saliba, Todibo, Kamara; Boudaoui, Lees Melou, Claude-Maurice; Ndoye, Maolida, Gouiri


SM words green background

We say: Rennes 1-2 Nice

It is difficult to back either of these two sides to prevail given their abysmal form books, and a draw would hardly benefit either manager, so this should be an entertaining affair between two sides desperate to claim a long-awaited win. Even though Nice have more absentees to contend with, they boast a strong recent record at the Roazhon Park and have no trouble finding the back of the net - especially with Gouiri firing on all cylinders - so we are backing a narrow away win, but it will certainly be close.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:data


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Eduardo Camavinga in action for Rennes on October 23, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Lille332010354203470
2Paris Saint-GermainPSG32213871234866
3MonacoMonaco32205767382965
4Lyon321810463313264
5Lens32141085144752
6Marseille33141094641552
7Rennes33149104335851
8Montpellier HSCMontpellier331211105354-147
9Nice32127134142-143
10Metz32119123638-242
11Angers33118143450-1641
12Reims32913103838040
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne32109133647-1139
14StrasbourgStrasbourg32106164150-936
15Bordeaux32106163545-1036
16Brest32106164455-1136
17Lorient3388174061-2132
18Nimes3286183159-2830
19NantesNantes32513143249-1728
20Dijon3229212056-3615

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