Rennes vs Celtic
Europa League Group E
5:55pm Thursday 19th September
Stade de la Route-de-Lorient
Rennes head trainer Julien Stephan considers Celtic are quite close to the grade of Europa League competitions Lazio because he warned his staff that getting from the group could be more difficult.
Celtic kick their group campaign in Brittany on Thursday while their Champions League conquerors, Cluj, take on the Italians.
Rennes reached the last 16 final season, supporting Dinamo Kiev and finishing before Jablonec and Astana and dropping to Arsenal.
But Stephan said:”It will be entirely different set from this past year, we think it’s a more powerful team. They are utilized to winning titles they have won eight titles in a row.
“They are a group that are generally at the Champions League and they’ve got enormous experience with many internationals.
“We know they could play at the atmosphere and they’re extremely technical. They are a very, very great team and also have specialized players such as (Callum) McGregor, (Ryan) Christie, (James) Forrest, just to mention a couple.
“They’re well balanced and we know how difficult it’s going to be we are fortunate to perform at home and the supporters will play a big role in a potential win for us.
“I do believe Celtic are among the favorites. As far as experience they should be in a position to execute well, maybe just behind Lazio.”
Stephan has lost half of the group which won the French Cup but Rennes sit second in the table after beating leaders Paris Saint-Germain throughout their five matches.
“It’s a new group, a new year, there is a brand new story to be told and we need to construct a story with a new group,” he explained. “We can not compare this year with last year, this past year’s history.
“We are in the process of rebuilding and the group is currently evolving. We have had a very good beginning in the league and now we need to take it in to Europe.”
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If Neil Lennon opts to break Jullien hatem Abd Elhamed is compelling to get a beginning, after picking up a marathon knock, however, Leigh Griffiths didn’t travel.
Rennes dropping 1-3 away from the 2011-12 Europa League group stages and are winless in both of the previous encounters at home, drawing 1-1 with Celtic.
Celtic are winless in their last seven away European matches against French resistance (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 just one of their last 15 home games in European competition (W8 D6), heading down 1-2 from Dynamo Kiev in previous season’s Europa League group stage.
In Champions League and also Europa League matches united, Celtic have won just three of their 45 away group stage games (W3 D11 L31), together with a few of those victories coming in last season’s contest (1-0 at Rosenborg).
The James Forrest of celtic has scored this season, such as in both legs of their Europa League qualifying victory against AIK.
Rennes have started in Ligue 1. I am hoping that M’Baye Niang won’t be enjoying. He’s lightning quick a lesser version of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. These guys can move and play, and that’s what Celtic fight against.
Celtic is going to be helpful on the counter-attack, but their reputation is the same. They get frightened when they go away from home. They don’t understand where to pitch their defence and whether to perform with a squeezing game or not.
They speed out wide and are going to have players that are talented. Celtic won’t endanger here and still have traumas.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-1 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
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