Reduced, Stade Rennais is making a very perilous trip to the Sevilla field this Wednesday evening in the Champions League.
Rennes in search of clearing up in Andalusia: in the gray lately and deprived of its midfield Camavinga-Nzonzi, Stade Rennais hopes to dispel the clouds on Wednesday (9 p.m.) in the Champions League in Seville, where the Breton team had tasted in 2019 at the magic of a European feat. If the Andalusian capital is not necessarily a place of memory for French football, long traumatized by the semi-final of the World Cup-1982 lost to the FRG, coming to challenge Sevilla FC on the other hand revives a “good memory” for Rennes .
Julien Stéphan’s team came to eliminate Betis at home in the round of 16 of the Europa League in February 2019 (3-3, 3-1), which remains as a very festive trip for the supporters and as a founding act for the club, in ascending phase since: coronation in the Coupe de France in May 2019 against PSG, then qualification for the Champions League in spring 2020.
Wednesday, it is on the ground of Seville FC, winner of the Europa League 2020 and great rival of Betis, that the Rennes have an appointment. But it is a question of finding the conquering spirit of yesterday after a complicated start to autumn, marked by three draws and a defeat in the last four meetings.
“Sevilla is a good memory for us, but it was another club,” coach Julien Stéphan recalled on Tuesday, refusing to compare. “These are two different competitions, two different clubs, the numbers have changed … What is new is that we won a title, we obtained the best ranking in the history of the club. But that doesn’t make us a fundamentally different club from 20 months ago. ”
“A good place to get together”
In fact, Stéphan finds himself forced to innovate for this trip to Andalusia, since he is deprived of his midfielder metronome, the world champion Steven Nzonzi (suspended from a match by UEFA for a gesture of humor) , and its star in the making, the diamond Eduardo Camavinga (spared after a blow received). “It is very regrettable and very penalizing for us, we will have to adapt. It changes things, “admitted the technician, while remaining optimistic. “We have other players ready, willing to play this game.”
After a successful start to the year and four disappointing results, including a first defeat this season, conceded against Angers on Friday (1-2) in Ligue 1, Stéphan must give his group a boost. “A very difficult match awaits us in Sevilla, but it is perhaps a very good place to come together, to find the necessary resources, to find this solidity, this commitment, this solidarity which we are a little lacking at the moment” , notes the technician.
The collective power of Seville
His words are already brewing in the mind of captain Damien Da Silva, eager to erase the bad past in Rennes at the time. Especially since Rennes, slowed down by Krasnodar at home (1-1) last week for its big debut in C1, already finds itself chasing the points to hope for something in this group E. “It’s not a question of redeeming themselves in Seville, because it is another competition. But we want to show a different face than facing Angers, ”says Da Silva, on his guard against the collective power of the Andalusians who have long foiled the great Bayern Munich in the European Supercup in September (defeat 2-1 after ). “I don’t know if they are the best team in the group, but they know each other well and have automatisms. They are undoubtedly the strongest in team play, ”said the defender.
This is good: in 2019 either, Rennes was not the favorite when it came time to set foot in Andalusia. “We will arrive as outsiders tomorrow (Wednesday),” warns Stéphan. “But it can also galvanize everyone.” And the magic of Seville to operate again.