MX23RW : Saturday, September 25 18:20:01| >> :120:31291:31291:
Sep 16, 2021 at 5.45pm UK at Roazhon Park
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Tait (23'), Laborde (72')
Martin (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Bade (11' og.), Hojbjerg (76')
Gil (82')

Preview: Rennes vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa Conference League clash between Rennes and Tottenham Hotspur, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Rennes and Tottenham Hotspur will both aim to bounce back from demoralising league defeats at the weekend when they do battle in Europa Conference League Group G on Thursday evening.

Les Rouge et Noir suffered a 2-0 home loss to Reims last time out, whereas Spurs' perfect start to the season ended with a 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Match preview

Bruno Genesio, now in charge of Rennes, pictured in 2019© Reuters

The Bruno Genesio revolution at Rennes has lost quite a bit of momentum in recent weeks, with Les Rouge et Noir now suffering back-to-back 2-0 defeats to Angers and Reims during an underwhelming start to the new Ligue 1 season.

With 26 minutes on the clock, teenage attacker Hugo Ekitike was in the right place at the right time to open the scoring for Reims from Ilan Kebbal's cutback, before another 19-year-old in N'Dri Philippe Koffi burst down the left-hand side and curled in a delightful effort just eight minutes after his introduction.

Now only able to boast one win from their opening five Ligue 1 games this term, Rennes' attempts to return to the Champions League or Europa League have already taken quite the hit, and Genesio's side must travel to free-scoring Marseille following their clash with Spurs.

However, Les Rouge et Noir did manage to ease into the Conference League group stages with a 5-1 aggregate success over Rosenborg in the qualifying round, claiming a 2-0 win on home soil before triumphing 3-1 on the road three weeks ago.

Rennes had also strung together an eight-game unbeaten run at Roazhon Park before being sunk by Reims' starlets, and in a Conference League group also comprising Vitesse and NS Mura, anything other than a top-two finish would spell disaster for the Ligue 1 powerhouses.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo pictured in August 2021© Reuters

With off-the-pitch endeavours relating to the South American contingent bedevilling them, Tottenham Hotspur sought to maintain their perfect start to the season against Crystal Palace, whose new boss Patrick Vieira needed no added incentive to get one over Spurs again.

Spurs' defensive resilience came to the fore in victories over Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford, but after Japhet Tanganga saw red, Wilfried Zaha struck the opener from the penalty spot before Odsonne Edouard's 10-minute debut saw him bag a brace in a humbling day for the Lilywhites.

Nuno Espirito Santo's perfect start to life in the Premier League with Spurs was not going to last forever, and the Portuguese has already suffered one European defeat with Tottenham against Pacos de Ferreira, but the North London club ran out convincing 3-0 winners in the second leg after a 1-0 first-leg defeat to make the Conference League group stages.

After spending four consecutive seasons in the Champions League from 2016-17 to 2019-20, being knocked out of last season's Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16 represented quite the downturn for Spurs, whose supporters may not be all that thrilled about the prospect of third-tier European football this term.

Thursday's game will mark the first-ever meeting between Rennes and Tottenham in any competition, but the French side have already faced two London clubs in Chelsea and Arsenal in previous European tournaments, recording one win and three losses in the process.

Rennes Europa Conference League form:
  • W
  • W

Rennes form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Tottenham Hotspur Europa Conference League form:
  • L
  • W

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min celebrates after the match on August 8, 2021© Reuters

Rennes attacker Martin Terrier was forced off after 27 minutes against Reims with a suspected thigh problem and is not expected to be available here, with fellow winger Jeremy Doku also out with a hamstring problem.

Kamaldeen Sulemana should earn an immediate recall to the left-hand side in Terrier's absence, while Loic Bade returns from a domestic suspension and should displace Warmed Omari in the hosts' rearguard.

Genesio also lost Alfred Gomis (quarantine), Birger Meling (adductor) and Lovro Majer (hip) before the defeat to Reims, and it would be a surprise to see any member of the trio line up on Thursday.

Tottenham remain without Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso due to quarantine regulations, while Tanganga's sending off at Selhurst Park means nothing for European encounters.

Son Heung-min and Ryan Sessegnon will not make their returns from injury just yet either, while Eric Dier is also set to miss out after going off injured against Palace, but Steven Bergwijn is in with a chance of featuring.

Nuno ought to put out a relatively strong team given the calibre of opponent, but there could be opportunities for Bryan Gil, Pierluigi Gollini and maybe even Tanguy Ndombele to impress.

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Salin; Traore, Aguerd, Bade, Truffert; Santamaria, Bourigeaud, Tait; Laborde, Guirassy, Sulemana

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Doherty, Rodon, Tanganga, Davies; Skipp, Ndombele, Winks; Clarke, Lucas, Gil

SM words green background

We say: Rennes 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Nuno has bigger fish to fry with Chelsea lying in wait for Spurs at the weekend, and the Portuguese is likely to field numerous fringe players in a lineup that is otherwise far from full strength.

Both Rennes and Spurs are expected to claim the top two spots in this group, but we cannot separate them on this occasion and expect a score draw to be played out on Thursday.

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