Rennes vs Celtic
Europa League Group E
5:55pm Thursday September
Stade de la Route-de-Lorient
Rennes head trainer Julien Stephan believes Celtic are quite close to the standard of Europa League rivals Lazio as he warned his team that getting from their group would be harder than last year.
Celtic kick off their group effort in Brittany on Thursday while their Champions League conquerors, Cluj, take the Italians.
Rennes reached the last 16 last season, losing to Arsenal and behind Dinamo Kiev, before beating Real Betis and finishing.
But Stephan stated:”It will be completely different group from this past year, we think that it’s a more powerful team. They are used to winning national titles they have won eight titles in a row.
“They are a group who are usually at the Champions League and they have enormous experience with many internationals.
“We know they could play at the atmosphere and they’re very technical. They’re a very, very great team and possess technical players such as (Callum) McGregor, (Ryan) Christie, (James) Forrest, merely to mention a few.
“They are well balanced and we know how difficult it will be we are lucky to perform at home and the supporters will play a big role in a potential win for all of us.
“I really do believe Celtic are among the favorites. As far as expertise they need to be able to execute well, possibly just behind Lazio.”
Stephan has lost half of the group which won the French Cup this season but Rennes sit in the table Paris Saint-Germain throughout their opening five games.
“It’s a new team, a new season, there is a brand new story to be informed and we will need to construct a narrative with a brand new team,” he explained. “We can not compare this year with last year, last year is history.
“We are in the process of fixing and the team is slowly currently evolving. We’ve had an excellent start in the league and we need to bring it into Europe.”
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Rennes dropping 1-3 away in the 2011-12 Europa League group stages and are winless in both of their meetings at home, drawing 1-1 with Celtic.
Celtic are winless in their last seven away European matches against French opposition (D2 L5) since hammering Nantes 3-1 from the 1966-67 European Cup last 16, en route to winning the trophy.
Including qualifiers, Rennes have lost only one of the last 15 home games in European contest (W8 D6), going down 1-2 against Dynamo Kiev in previous season’s Europa League group phase.
Back in Champions League along with Europa League games united, Celtic have won only three of the 45 away team stage games (W3 D11 L31), together with a few of the victories coming in last season’s competition (1-0 in Rosenborg).
Celtic’s James Forrest has played this year, such as in the two legs of the Europa League qualifying victory against AIK.
Rennes have begun very well in Ligue 1. I hope that M’Baye Niang won’t be enjoying. He’s lightning fast, nearly a lesser variant of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. These guys can move and play, and that’s what Celtic struggle against.
Celtic is going to be useful about the counter-attack, but their reputation is always exactly the same. They get scared when they travel away from your home. They do not understand the best places to throw their defence and whether to play with a game or not.
They pace out wide, where they will look to exploit and will have players that are talented. Celtic have traumas that are defensive and will not endanger here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
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