Rennes were outsmarted last round as they fell in the trap set up by Bordeaux (lost 2-1).
Rennes were more than happy to take initiative and struggle to build dangerous opportunities instead of concentrating to speculate on counters. And what kind of threats you expect to pose when only one offensive player is in good form, winger Ntep. Is getting more and more difficult to stop Ntep regardless how many opponents are after him. His ball control skills are really impressive and surely attracted the attention of top European clubs.
But besides Ntep all of Rennes’ offensive players seem to be from a women team. Striker Toivonen was barely visible last round and was even substituted in minute 60. Play-maker Doucoure ran a lot, but was simply unable to make any-kind of difference.
Rennes will miss central defender Armand through suspension. His place will most likely be taken by Diagne who is hesitant and low on confidence (scored an own goal two rounds ago).
Boring game between Lens and Caen last round (finished 0-0). Lens welcomed back winger Nomenjanahary but like the rest of attacking players he had a poor performance.
Lens rely a lot on keeping it tight at the back. This allows them to fully concentrate at exploiting eventual weaknesses on counters. But this round things may be a bit different for Lens seeing they will be missing central defender Kantari and defensive midfielder Le Moigne, both of them important players.
Coach Kombouare will have to convert fullback Gbamin or use Ba in central defenss, but both of them are way under Kantari’s level.
With all the defensive absences in both sides this game could have been a decent option for betting on goals, but the poor form of attacking players from both clubs badly diminishes the level of trust.
UPDATE: Hosts are without winger Habibou who suffered an injury.
Rennes: Costil, Sorin – Danzé, Diagne, Mexer, Zajkov, Moreira, M’Bengue – Hunou, P.Henrique, G.Fernandes, Doucouré, Pajot, Prcic – Toivonen, Ntep, Hosiner, Grosicki
Lens: Belon, Ru.Riou – Ab.Ba, Baal, Cavaré, Fradj, Gbamin, Landre, B.Sylla – Bourigeaud, Cyprien, El Jadeyaoui, Valdivia – Chavarria, Ad.Coulibaly, Guillaume, D.Ndiaye, Touzghar