Rennes coach Bruno Genesio has urged his side to keep "focussing on what you can control" as they look to claim the win at Lille in Saturday's final Ligue 1 Uber Eats game of the season that could earn them UEFA Champions League football next season.
LOSC Lille vs Stade Rennais FC 9pm CEST (7pm GMT)
Rennes come into the final 90 minutes of the 2021/22 campaign in fourth place, three points behind Monaco and Marseille, who are clinging on to France's remaining UEFA Champions League qualifying spots following Paris Saint-Germain's title win.
If Rennes win and the two teams ahead of them lose — Monaco down the road in Lens and OM at home to Strasbourg — then the Bretons will finish second and qualify automatically for next season's group stage. Should either of the pair be defeated, Rennes will finish third with a win and have to go through the third qualifying round and a playoff to reach the lucrative promised land of European club football's premier competition.
WATCH: Rennes defeat Marseille to keep podium finish in sight
"It's exceptional to be experiencing this," said Genesio, this week named Ligue 1 Uber Eats' Coach of the Year in his first season at Roazhon Park. "We battle all season long to achieve our objectives. It's a moment that we have to enjoy as opposed to feeling negative pressure. I'll be taking the same approach as I do in preparing most games, which is asking the team to focus on the means and not the final result."
A draw will ensure at least a place in the UEFA Europa League next season for Rennes, who have refound form with three wins from their last four having slumped to just one victory in their four top-flight outings prior to that.
"For fourth place at least we have our destiny in our own hands. That's a big advantage," explained Genesio, who is only without France U17 EURO squad members Mathys Tel, Jeanuel Belocian and Désiré Doué for the trip to the Stade Pierre Mauroy. "For the rest, let's see what the others do. That's what's most important in these situations: focussing on what you control and not wasting energy on everything else."
The euphoria of Lille's 2020/21 title win now seems a long distant memory with Les Dogues' season peetering out. There will be celebrations of a sort on the final day with Burak Yilmaz set to make his final appearance for the club following Friday's announcement that the Turkey international will be ending his two-year spell in northern France.
"Last season, he was in incredible form and did so well. He has been less effective this season, but he has always put in the effort," said coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, who has seen his experienced forward find the net just four times in Ligue 1 Uber Eats this season compared to 16 last term.
Another experienced campaigner, 38-year-old captain Jose Fonte, will be at the club next season having signed a new one-year deal. The Portugal international will hope to help his side end on a high following four defeats in their last six matches, a run that means they can finish no higher than ninth.
Lille: Jardim - Celik - Fonte - Botman - Gudmundson - Sanches - Onana - André - Bamba - Yilmaz - David
Rennes: Gomis - Truffert - Omari - Aguerd - Traoré - Tait - Santamaria - Majer - Terrier - Laborde - Bourigeaud