Both teams played midweek Cup games in the French Cup. Rennes managed to win a very balanced game away at Auxerre (1-0), while Montpellier were eliminated in extra time by 4th division side Cannes (the ones who also eliminated St Etienne).
Even if Montpellier played extra time and only bitter taste remained in the end, there a high possibility that Montpellier will be more fresh than Rennes, only because they are accustomed with playing midweek games (and losing them…) after the Champions League adventure not that long ago.
Leaving aside the Cup games, last round away at Ajaccio, Rennes simply didn’t stand a chance. Most of their passes were parallel with Ajaccio’s goal and so Rennes failed to create much danger.
Their most active player was newly transferred-in young winger Ntep. Imagine that, a player without much experience, not yet adapted with teammates, to be the best player on the field, just sad…
Fullback Danze and winger Alessandrini should be back after missing the Cup game through injury. But especially Alessandrini is a huge disappointment lately. He is considered a key player but always fails to deliver and does more harm rather than good.
For Montpellier, forward Niang, play-maker Cabella and midfielder Sanson should start, after being only on the bench in the Cup game.
Montpellier are simply unrecognizable in 2014 (in the good way). They are more inventive in the offensive phase and score more than before. In the defense they also concede more, but that’s only because they dominate opponents, take big leads early in the game and relax too much.
Last round against Evian, Montpellier were a bit unlucky as fullback Tiene got a red card and they had to play in 10 for almost an hour. Tiene should return now after fulfilling his suspension in the Cup game.
Rennes look too soft and uninspired nowadays. For some weird reason bookies make them small favorites, when instead the value lies on guests. Montpellier +0.25 at 1.73 is the way to go.