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Stade Rennes will make their Champions League debut on Tuesday against Russian club Krasnodar. Even if the poster is not the most prestigious, the Breton team will be keen not to miss its entry into the great European bath.
For his first participation in the Champions League, Tuesday October 20, the Rennes stadium inherited from another novice, Krasnodar. Even if this Russian opponent is not as scary as the big names in Europe, the Breton club will certainly be apprehensive when hearing the anthem of the prestigious competition resound for the first time at Roazhon Park.
“Yes, I imagine music can give you chills when you hear it on the pitch. After that, if you listen to the music and lose the game behind, it will be a bad memory, so you have to focus on the match “, however underlined the Rennes captain, Damien Da Silva, in a press conference on the eve of the meeting.
5,000 authorized supporters
For this baptism of fire, the Bretons can count on their supporters. While health restrictions are increasing due to Covid-19, the gauge has been increased to 5,000 spectators. “With 1,000 people in the compound, everything is very cozy, we don’t hear much. There is a real difference. We have already seen it against Monaco, these 4,000 more people carry the team. and make the difference “, thus rejoiced the trainer, Julien Stéphan, while PSG will face Manchester United at the same time at Parc des Princes in camera.
After less than two years at the head of a professional team and at just 40 years old, the Rennes manager will discover the Champions League. Even if he wants to be realistic, he does not intend to make up the figures. “The objective is simple, it is to gain experience. We are in the last UEFA coefficients of the draw, so all the teams imagine taking six points against us. It’s up to us to try to steal as many as possible, to play with a lot of bravery, to give everything, not to regret anything, and we will see where that will lead us. Certainties, we do not have any, but confidence, yes, because beyond the results, we have had very interesting match content, it’s really encouraging, “he said after the draw which saw Rennes inherit Krasnodar, Sevilla FC and Chelsea in their group.
“Raise the cursor”
But Rennes training has stalled in recent encounters. Brilliant against teams in form in its first matches of the season, it remains on two very disappointing draws against Reims (2-2) and Dijon (1-1), current 19e and 20e of Ligue 1. Certainly, Julien Stéphan had to do without his captain Damien Da Silva and his metronome, Steven Nzonzi in Dijon, both suspended. He also spared Eduardo Camavinga, the young nugget of the team, just back from selection after his first goal for Blue. And if Serhou Guirassy was clumsy in attack, Martin Terrier finally scored his first goal in red and black. Enough to keep Rennes, undefeated since the start of the season, on the Ligue 1 podium.
But that may not be enough: “We will have to remedy that and raise the cursor to make full matches, because the road will rise considerably in the days and weeks to come. We will not be able to be satisfied with making half-matches, “warned Julien Stéphan Friday night after the draw against Dijon.
Faced with Krasnodar – an opponent a priori less formidable than Sevilla FC or Chelsea – and at home, Rennes in any case has a chance to succeed in entering the Champions League. But for Julien Stéphan, it will still be necessary to beware of the Russians. “Krasnodar has players who have experience, internationals with a habit of the European Cup and international matches. They are a modern team, complicated to play and which must be respected,” he said. at a press conference.
Currently 7e of the Russian championship, Krasnodar has indeed eliminated PAOK Salonika in the play-offs, and if this young club founded in 2008 by Russian billionaire Sergei Galitsky also starts in the Champions League, it has already arrived twice in the knockout stages of the Europa League (2017 and 2019), while Rennes has only reached this stage once.