Nice finished 4th last season, but it will be almost impossible for them to repeat that performance.
They lost key strikers Ben Arfa and Germain, and also lost important midfielder Mendy. Midfielder Hult, defender Genevois and fullback Pied left the squad as well, reducing the overall strength.
They have transferred-in a couple of players, all of them young with promising potential, but nobody able to replace forwards Ben Arfa and Germain.
Most important players for Nice will be forward Plea and midfielder Koziello, very talented players, but also very young and lacking experience. Nice will have one of the youngest teams in the tournament (and maybe even Europe) and the lack of experience will be their major problem.
Fullback Ricardo Pereira is injured and most probably will sit out.
Rennes lost wingers Dembele and Boga this summer, and although they weren’t key players, Dembele and Boga could take actions on their own and score after outplaying half the team.
They managed to keep winger Ntep, who is one of the most talented players in France, but he went through some difficult times recently due to a recurring injury. Ntep made it clear that he wants to stay at the club, as long as Rennes are willing to renew his contract.
Last season Rennes were forced to build mostly down the flanks, since central midfielders had defensive profiles. Now they have transferred-in experienced central midfielder Chantome from Bordeaux, a highly talented player, who should fit perfectly in Rennes’ system.
At least on paper, Rennes have a really powerful team. Especially the left flank stands out, with fullback Baal and winger Ntep. Now that midfielder Chantome arrived, Rennes will be able to easily switch play in the center or on the other flank.
Maybe because their results last season, bookies give Nice way too much credit. But Nice is a totally different team now, a young team without a leader and without experience. RENNES DNB at 2.25
UPDATE: Hosts will miss midfielder Eysseric, and defenders Gomis and Boscagli. Rennes will be without midfielders Ntep and Henrique
Nice: Nice : Cardinale, Hassen – Baysse, Bodmer, Dalbert, Rafetraniaina, Sarr, Souquet – Cyprien, Koziello, Lusamba, Marcel, Seri, Vercauteren, Walter – Bosetti, Donis, Plea
Rennes : Costil, A.Diallo – P.Mendes, S.Moreira, Bensebaini, Armand, Baal, Danzé – G.Fernandes, Chantôme, Grosicki, Y.Sylla, B.André, Gourcuff – Erasmus, Saïd, Sio, Diakhaby