Stade Rennais are gearing up for their first-ever Champions League campaign with the French side determined to make this the first of many.
It has been a rapid rise for the small football based in North West France. A football club at the heart of its community now ready to make its presence felt on the biggest stage in club football.
Julien Stephan has built an exciting, attacking team mixed with talented youngsters and experienced campaigners. Whatever happens in their debut campaign it will be one to remember for sure.
They will cause teams problems, and while the fans cannot be there to cheer them on, they will be backing their team all way.
Stade Rennais Ready for Their Champions League Debut
A Tight-Knit Team Determined to Make Their Presence Felt
Rennes have been handed a tough group but one they will relish participating in. They will face Premier League giants Chelsea and current Europa League holders Sevilla. Their group is completed by Russian side FK Krasnodar– who they face in their first-ever game.
While, on paper, their group appears tough, Julien Stephan will fancy his side can cause significant problems for their opponents. Since his appointment in December 2018, Stephan has brought success, progress and talent through their youth system. He guided Rennes to their first trophy in 48 years when they beat Paris Saint Germain in the 2019 Coupe de France final. And as we know, in his first full season in charge, he guided Rennes to third place in Ligue 1 thereby securing a place in the Champions League.
He has done a magnificent job, but Stephan will place all the credit on his players. Stephan has put together a vibrant team mixed with youthful exuberance and experienced figures who have been there and done it. A tight-knit group ready to sparkle on the biggest stage. Usually set up in a 4-3-3, Rennes will look to exploit the full-backs with their pacey attackers. In addition to this, they will look to maintain a strong defensive shape when under the pressure.
Eduardo Camavinga is the Beating Heart of This Stade Rennais Team
While they are a hugely talented team, there is one player who stands out from the rest – teenage sensation Eduardo Camavinga. He has played a huge role in Rennes’ rise under Stephan. Despite the huge difficulties presented this year, Camavinga has even caught the eye of the national manager, Didier Deschamps, at the age of just 17. He starred on his France debut, scoring the opening goal in a 7-1 win against Ukraine.
He is a dynamic midfielder who loves to start attacks and score goals. His performances have been sensational for someone so young. As expected some of Europe’s biggest teams are keeping an eye on him. His performances in the Champions League will be vital to however long Rennes are in the competition for.
However, he isn’t the only player teams will need to be wary of. Rennes replaced Brazilian winger Raphinha, who departed for Leeds United, with the brightest talent in Belgian football, Jeremy Doku. Signed from Anderlecht, Doku is perceived as the next Belgian talent to have a bright future in the game. He is a pacey winger who possesses plenty of quality. Doku is raw and at 18, there is still lots to come from him.
While there is an abundance of talented youngsters in the ranks, Rennes have a few wise old heads ready to aid the team in their upcoming Champions League debut. Clement Grenier is a player who fits into this bracket. He is one of a very few players in the Rennes team who know the demands of the Champions League. He, along with Steven N’Zonzi and goalkeeper Romain Salin, know the huge challenges ahead. Julien Stephan will be looking to those figures to guide his team when times become difficult.
The player with the most recent Champions League experience is winger Martin Terrier – Terrier was part of the Lyon side which reached the semi-finals last season. He is gearing up for another campaign and has already impressed his new teammates and manager.
It’s a fantastic blend which Stephan has put together and, unsurprisingly, excitement is building in the team ahead of their Champions League debut.
A Special Season, Whatever Happens
When Rennes kick-off against Krasnodar, it will be a monumental moment for the football club, the community and the 200,000 people who reside in the city. Rennes truly are a football club which represents its community. The fans will be backing them every step of the way on their big adventure.
Whatever happens in these six group games, they will certainly be a challenge for their group rivals and history will be made. Stephan will believe his side can assert themselves on the biggest stage and get out of the group.
It is going to be special however Rennes’ first Champions League campaign progresses. Excitement is in the air and a city holds its breath as their team gets ready to do them proud.