After their triumph in the Coupe de France, FC Nantes will extend the festivities this Wednesday at La Beaujoire against Stade Rennais, which they hope to keep away from the podium.
Four days after winning the Coupe de France against Nice (1-0), FC Nantes is tackling its last challenge of the season this Wednesday (9 p.m.): the derby against Stade Rennais. Beaten 2-0 in Brittany in the first leg, the Canaries intend to surf on the euphoria of victory and thwart the Champions League projects of their neighbors.
During the parade in the heart of Nantes the day after the victory, the derby was already in the minds, especially that of Marcus Coco: “We necessarily think about it, because we don’t want to put a bad mark on everything we have done”. This reception of Stade Rennais at La Beaujoire is the last game at stake for the FCN this season. Three days from the end, Ludovic Blas and his teammates currently occupy 9th place in the standings and are already guaranteed to play in the Europa League next season thanks to their triumph at Saint-Denis.
Drunk with happiness or hangover?
On Wednesday, the players will land in their den with the trophy, just to prolong the party which started at the final whistle of Stéphanie Frappart last Saturday. History also to redeem a little since many supporters were disappointed with the parade organized by the club place Foch. Scheduled for 5 p.m., the players arrived two hours late and did not last long, which is reminiscent of the wobbly celebration of the Blues after the World Cup on the Champs Elysées in 2018.
Kombouaré’s men will no doubt be keen to catch up on the Beaujoire lawn on the show side. It remains to be seen whether, on the ground, the legs will follow. Because with a sleepless night, a parade and only two short days to prepare for the match, it is quite possible that the players will be exhausted. “There are small sores, fatigue“, acknowledged the Kanak on Tuesday. But he warns:we will be ready for this big derby that we want to win. We know we didn’t make the best of preparations but we have no excuse. We will field the best team tomorrow (Wednesday).»
For its part, Rennes, who did not play last weekend, had time to prepare for their meeting. Bruno Genesio remains cautious: “It’s impossible to know if it’s an advantage or not to play them after the victory in the Coupe de France. What is certain is that we had a long preparation between Saint-Étienne (…) We can make assumptions but so many things happen during the matches that it is difficult to anticipate what whether it be.”
The former OL coach recalls that the Canaries are strong at home: “They are doing very well at home. They have a good defensive structure and offensively, they have players who are capable of causing problems in transition. It will be a tough game. We know the context of the derbies. We are expecting a very committed and very difficult match”.
Goal 57 points for Nantes
On the Nantes side, the prospect of depriving the red and black neighbor of a podium, and therefore of the Champions League, necessarily adds extra motivation, for the public and the players. If he expects to playa big Rennes team that wants to finish 2nd“, Kombouaré has another objective: “before playing the role of referee (in the race for the podium) I want us to do better than this 9e square. I told the players that the objective was to go to 57 points to finish 7th. There are therefore two victories to go for. Why ? Because I would like it. You have to be ambitious, demanding. You can’t win the Coupe de France and tell yourself that you’ve finished the season, impossible.»
Echoes before the derby
Nantes: Spin ? With a workforce almost complete but perhaps blunted by the celebrations of the Coupe de France in recent days, Antoine Kombouaré should rotate his workforce a bit, even if the Nantes people have no intention of making a gift to their Rennes rivals. Kalifa Coulibaly and Dennis Appiah could return to the starting XI. But the celebration of the cup and the derby will be tarnished by the closure of the Loire stand for the last two home matches, decided by the disciplinary committee after repeated use of smoke bombs, and confirmed on appeal on Monday.
Rennes : Return of Alfred Gomis. The Senegalese goalkeeper, victim of a broken hand, is fully recovered for the derby, but Bruno Genesio has not announced whether he will put his N.1 goalkeeper back in the cages or keep the young Dogan Alemdar, in full progress , to favor dynamics. The central hinge will be further disrupted since Nayef Aguerd is serving his second suspension match and Loïc Badé is still not operational. The young defender has returned to collective training, as has Kamaldeen Sulemana, and both could apply for the very last matches. And Jérémy Doku, returned to the group but remained on the bench against Saint-Etienne, should make his entry at the end of the match.