Preview: Rennes vs. Fenerbahce – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Europa League clash between Rennes and Fenerbahce, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Rennes host Fenerbahçe in Group B of the Europa League on Thursday, with both teams looking to build on victories last week.

Rennes scored a last-minute winner away to AEK Larnaca, while Fenerbahce did exactly the same against Dynamo Kiev.

Match preview

Rennes' Lorenz Assignon on September 8, 2022© Reuters

After finishing fourth in Ligue 1 last season – just three points short of qualifying for the Champions League for only the second time in their history – Rennes will feel confident of making a mark in the Europa League this time around.

In three previous appearances, Rennes have only once reached the knockout stages, when they lost 4-3 on aggregate to eventual runners-up Arsenal in the 2018-19 campaign.

After a fairly slow start in Ligue 1 this season, Bruno Genesio‘s side looked back to their best on Sunday, as they thrashed Auxerre 5-0 at Roazhon Park. Five different goalscorers got themselves on the scoresheet, including summer signing Amine Gouiri for the first time since his switch from Nice.

After Lorenz Assignon‘s 94th-minute winner earned his team all three points in Cyprus last week, Genesio will hope that his side are building serious momentum ahead of a tough test against Fenerbahce on Thursday.

Gustavo Henrique celebrates scoring for Fenerbahce on September 8, 2022© Reuters

As mentioned, Fenerbahce earned a dramatic injury-time winner themselves last week, with summer signing Michy Batshuayi sensationally grabbing all three points for his team on his debut.

Gustavo Henrique had provided the Turkish Super Lig runners-up with a first-half lead before Victor Tsyhankov leveled the proceedings after the hour mark, but Jorge JesusThe side’s pressure finally paid off through the former Chelsea striker’s late finish.

Jesus, who has two Europa League runners-up medals to his name from his time at Benfica, will be targeting this competition as one which Fenerbahce can go far in. The Yellow Canaries have not made any real impact in Europe since reaching the semi-finals in 2012-13.

Having had no league match at the weekend, Jesus will hope that his side’s freshness can lead to a second successive victory in the competition when they face Rennes on Thursday, which would put them in an incredibly strong position to progress from Group B.

Rennes Europa League form:

Rennes form (all competitions):

Fenerbahce Europa League form:

Fenerbahce form (all competitions):

Team News

Martin Terrier warms up for Rennes in April 2022© Reuters

Rennes will remain without Jeremy Doc, Arnaud Calimuendo and Warmed Omar due to injuries, while Baptiste Santamaria was withdrawn against Auxerre due to an ankle issue, which could keep the midfielder out for at least a few weeks.

Genesio kept the core of his team in tact in Cyprus last week while making changes further up the field, and it is likely to be a similar story against Fenerbahce on Thursday, with the exception of Lesley Ugochukwu potentially coming in for the injured Santamaria as an enforced change.

As such, Gouiri and Martin Terrier may drop back down to the bench, with Lovro Mayer and Matthias Abline taking their place.

Fenerbahce, meanwhile, can more readily pick their strongest XI having had the weekend off. Nazim Sangare remains a long-term absentee with a cruciate ligament injury, but otherwise Jesus looks to have a full squad to choose from.

Having picked three forwards against Dynamo Kiev last week, Diego Rossi could drop out of the side to allow an additional midfielder to provide balance for a tough away match, with Irfan Kahveci the most likely candidate.

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Traore, Rodon, Theate, Meling; Ugochukwu, Tait; Bourigeaud, Majer, Sulemana; Abline

Fenerbahce possible starting lineup:
Bayindir; Henrique, Szalai, Peres; Kadioglu, Kahveci, Arao, Crespo, Alioski; King, Pedro

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We say: Rennes 1-1 Fenerbahce

Having had a rest at the weekend, Fenerbahce should be the fresher side, particularly as the game heads into the latter stages.

Having rotated in Cyprus last week, much will depend on the starting XI which Genesio picks, as there is little doubt Rennes have more firepower if their strongest team is on the pitch.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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