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Coupe champs Rennes take on menaced Monaco

Publish on 01/05/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Fresh from their defeat of PSG in the Coupe de France final on Saturday, Rennes play host to a Monaco side whose recent form has left them perilously close to the drop once again...

 Stade Rennais FC - AS Monaco  

Rennes' upset shoot-out win over four-time reigning champions PSG in the Coupe de France final on Saturday was a mammoth event for the Brittany club, whose 48-year trophy drought came to a spectacular end as Christopher Nkunku fired his spot-kick over the bar at the Stade de France.

Coach Julien Stéphan has now cemented his legendary status at the club - after coming in to replace Sabri Lamouchi in December and guiding the team to the UEFA Europa League round of 16 - but what's next for the team from north-western France?

'Ride the wave!'

Currently in 11th on 43 points, Rennes are safe from relegation and out of the running for Europe, but Stéphan doesn't feel that there will be a lack of motivation for his players.

"We have no desire to come back down just yet. We want to ride the wave!" he beamed. "But there will some fatigue issues. The players dug very deep just 72 hours ago. We'll be rotating the squad somewhat, in order to have some fresh legs. But we want to finish the season as well as possible and pay respect to this Coupe de France win."

Captain Benjamin André and midfield partner Clément Grenier are the ones most likely to be rested for the clash, while for Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, it will be a case of fielding his best possible line-up in order to escape the menace of relegation, which has returned after claiming just one win in their last seven outings. In 17th place with just a three-point lead over Caen, who are currently in line for the play-off against Domino's Ligue 2's third-placed finisher, Monaco can go six point clear with a win.

Injury hit

However, the Portuguese will be without stars Cesc Fabregas, Stevan Jovetic, Daniel Subasic and William Vainqueur among others (all injured), but star winger Rony Lopes, set to line up on the left flank of a 4-2-3-1, looking to tee up captain Radamel Falcao, is remaining resolute.

"We have been under pressure since this situation came about earlier in the season," said Jardim's compatriot, whose side were beaten 3-1 by PSG in Week 33. "We need points but the team will not crack under pressure. We're ready to go out there and win every match, and that's what we'll try to do in Rennes on Wednesday."  


Probable teams

Stade Rennais FC: Koubek; H. Traoré, Da Silva, Mexer (c), S. Doumbia; Del Castillo, Gélin, Bourigeaud, Léa-Siliki; Hunou, Ben Arfa

AS Monaco: Benaglio; Henrichs, Jemerson, B. Badiashile, Ballo-Touré; A.Silva, Aholou; R. Lopes, Golovine, G. Martins; Falcao (c)