Rencontres Rennes vs Lens: A Crucial Match for European Qualification

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Sitting just outside the European places in Ligue 1, Rennes will need to end the season strongly to have a chance of qualifying for a seventh consecutive European campaign. Despite a promising six-game winning streak in the league between December and February, their recent form has been less than stellar, with only three victories in ten encounters since (D2, L5). As a result, they now find themselves four points adrift of the current sixth-place occupants, Lens.

Adding to their challenges, Rennes has failed to win any of the last seven head-to-head matches against Lens (D3, L4) and has lost three of their last four home matches against all opposition (W1). However, for fans seeking entertainment, this particular game may deliver, as Rennes’ last 12 fixtures at Roazhon Park have each seen at least two goals scored overall.

On the other hand, visitors Lens are aware that it is only mathematically possible to snatch fourth place and a UEFA Champions League group stage spot from the hands of bitter rivals Lille. They could secure a spot in the Europa League group stage from sixth place if PSG lifts the Coupe de France trophy later this month. However, their primary focus should be on leapfrogging Nice into fifth place to secure their spot in Europe’s second-tier competition.

Despite conceding a first-minute strike in their last away trip to Marseille, many would expect Lens to be defensively solid in the early stages of this match. They have conceded the second-fewest Ligue 1 goals on the road in the opening half-hour this season (three), second only to champions PSG’s one. However, they are facing the prospect of a fourth successive defeat on their travels, a feat that last happened in the 2017/18 season.

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Players to watch:

  • Former Lens midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud is one goal away from netting ten in a league season for the third time since making the switch to Rennes.
  • Lens’ Adrien Thomasson registered an assist three minutes after coming off the bench last weekend against Lorient. He has scored more goals against Rennes (four) during his career than against any other team, except for Monaco (six).

Hot stat: Going into this weekend, no side in Ligue 1 has scored more goals at home in the opening ten minutes than Rennes’ six.

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