Martin Terrier, Rennes

Lens - Rennes preview: Terrier key to success

Lens - Rennes preview: Terrier key to success

Publish on 08/25 at 22:59 - I. HOLYMAN


Rennes will look to Martin Terrier to help confirm their improved fortunes when they travel to unbeaten Lens on Saturday without the injured Arnaud Kalimuendo (kick-off 9pm CEST).



Terrier got the opening goal as Rennes defeated Ajaccio 2-1 last weekend to record their first win of the new season after stuttering to just a single point from their opening two matches of the 2022/23 campaign.


Reportedly a transfer target for a number of clubs Europe-wide this summer, Terrier calmed speculation by adding a year to his current deal on Wednesday, extending his contract with Rennes through to 2026.


Coach Bruno Genesio would have hoped to have linked Terrier up with Kalimuendo in his front line, but the summer arrival from Paris Saint-Germain, who impressed in the last two seasons while on loan at Lens, is carrying a thigh injury sustained in the 2-1 Round 3 victory.


WATCH: Rennes see off Ajaccio





"The win against Ajaccio was important for a number of reasons. I hope it'll do us some good. I want the team to get a bit of lightness back, a bit of freedom, confidence, and get on the front foot," said Genesio, who saw goalkeeper Dogan Alemdar — standing in for the injured Steve Mandanda — save an early second-half penalty against Ajaccio.


"Last season was very good, but we didn't often manage to win that kind of game. That shows the team has resilience and that we're on the right track. We want to build a team little by little, but we have to above all keep the mentality that we had on Sunday against a team that isn't easy to play."



Lesley Ugochukwu's red card against Ajaccio means he is suspended while Genesio is also without injured Croatia international midfielder Lovro Majer. Mandanda remains in recovery from the knee injury sustained in the Round 2 draw at Monaco, but full-back Birger Meling has recovered from a thigh injury and the Norway international is in contention to make his first appearnace of the season.


Rennes' task is not a simple one. They have failed to beat Lens in any of the four encounters between the two sides since the northerners returned to Ligue 1 two seasons ago, and while Franck Haise's team are unbeaten in their last six home games, Genesio's side have failed to win any of their last four 'on the road'.


"We have watched this team a lot, and they have the advantage of knowing each other well, with principles that have remained unchanged over the last two seasons," noted Genesio. "There were changes in the team, but they were made very early in pre-season, which meant they prepared for the season with pretty much their first-choice team. You can see that in the way they play. They're a very good team, and they're in form. We have to go there with the ambition of playing our game while taking their strengths into consideration."


WATCH: Lens rout Monaco





Lens' strengths have earned them seven points so far, their highest tally since 2004/05, and scored a statement win with a 4-1 triumph at Monaco last time out, ending the principality side's 12-game unbeaten run in Ligue 1 Uber Eats in most convincing style.


"It's a real signal. To go there and win 4-1, you have to put in a great performance and it's a deserved victory given the statistics," said Haise, whose side used their lion's share of possession to great effect at the Stade Louis II, firing in 14 goal attempts. "Of course it gives us confidence, but what counts is consistency, and after that super-consistency to be able to improve still further."


Jimmy Cabot missed training on Thursday due to a muscle problem but should be available leaving Adam Buksa as the only notable absentee as Lens look to build on a prolific start to the season that has seen them score seven goals already, their highest total after three games since 1998/99.


Probable teams

Lens: Samba; Medina, Danso, Gradit; Frankowski, Fofana (c), Abdul Samed, Machado; Costa, Openda, Sotoca


Rennes: Alemdar; Traoré (c), Badé, Theate, Truffert; Sulemana, Santamaria, Tait; Bourigeaud, Laborde, Terrier


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