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Dec 12, 2021 at 2pm UK
FT(HT: 0-1)
Dolberg (19' pen.), Atal (51')
Benitez (44'), Rosario (70'), Gouiri (81'), Boudaoui (90+1')

Preview: Rennes vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Rennes vs. Nice - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Rennes and Nice, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Having been granted a rare midweek rest, Rennes resume Ligue 1 action on Sunday with the visit of Nice to the Roazhon Park.

Bruno Genesio's side saw their Europa Conference League clash with Tottenham Hotspur postponed earlier this week, while Les Aiglons most recently went down 3-0 to Strasbourg.

Match preview

After an emotional Antonio Conte revealed that Tottenham had recorded a total of 13 positive coronavirus cases (eight players, five staff members), the decision was ultimately taken to postpone Rennes' visit to North London, with UEFA now scrambling to try to find a solution.

Rennes made their feelings clear on the matter with a short and sharp statement, but Genesio's men are already guaranteed to finish atop the group as winners and can focus all their energy on domestic exploits until a date for the fixture to be played is set in stone.

The rampant Rouge et Noir were responsible for the first managerial casualty of the Ligue 1 season last time out, as Martin Terrier's hat-trick, Lesley Ugochukwu's strike and Yvann Macon's own goal saw them thrash Saint-Etienne 5-0 before Claude Puel departed Les Verts.

Rennes are now Paris Saint-Germain's closest challengers at the top, but the second-placed Rouge et Noir are still 11 points adrift of the runaway leaders, while Marseille sit two points behind Genesio's side with a game in hand.

Victory over Saint-Etienne marked Rennes' fourth win from their last five in Ligue 1, and they have conceded a joint-low six home goals in domestic action all season, which does not bode well for a shell-shocked Nice outfit.

Bringing in the 2020-21 title-winning coach led to a new wave of optimism around Nice's Allianz Riviera, and the results and performances reflected that of a side with the wind in their sails under Christophe Galtier.

However, Les Aiglons have now gone three games without a win or a goal in Ligue 1, most recently being humbled 3-0 at home to Strasbourg courtesy of goals from Ludovic Ajorque, Habib Diallo and Adrien Thomasson.

An alarming downturn in fortunes has seen Nice win just one of their last five games in Ligue 1, and they have dropped to fourth in the table as a result - level on points with Lens and two adrift of Marseille having played a game more.

Les Aiglons have struggled time and time again on home turf, but they can take solace in the fact that their away form is the second-best in the division behind PSG, and only four goals conceded on the road is the best defensive record in the division.

Another much-needed positive for Nice is that Rennes have only won one of the last 12 Ligue 1 meetings between the sides - a 1-0 win at the Allianz Riviera last term - as Les Aiglons prevailed 2-1 at Roazhon Park back in February.

Rennes Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Rennes form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Nice Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Rennes lost Terrier to injury after his stunning hat-trick in the drubbing of Saint-Etienne, but he is not reported to be nursing anything serious and should be fine here, which is more than can be said for fellow attacker Jeremy Doku.

The Liverpool-linked starlet is dealing with a knee injury and is likely to remain out alongside Birger Meling and Flavien Tait, with Jeremy Gelin a long-term ACL absentee.

It would be a surprise to see Genesio make many alterations from the thrashing of Les Verts, with Lovro Majer continuing in the middle after setting up all three of Terrier's strikes on the day.

Meanwhile, Nice will be forced to cope without Andy Delort owing to a one-game ban, which opens up a spot for Amine Gouiri to return to the final third.

Melvin Bard also came off injured in the Strasbourg defeat, so Hassane Kamara is ready to deputise if required, but Robson Bambu (ankle) is likely to miss out.

Youcef Atal and Dante could also be reintroduced to the backline, while Calvin Stengs's spot may be at risk as Hicham Boudaoui eyes a return to the midfield.

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Aguerd, Omari, Truffert; Majer, Martin, Santamaria; Bourigeaud, Laborde, Terrier

Nice possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Atal, Todibo, Dante, Kamara; Boudaoui, Lemina, Rosario, Kluivert; Gouiri, Delort

We say: Rennes 1-0 Nice

Rennes players may be relishing the extra rest they have been granted after the postponement of Wednesday's game, with Genesio needing his attackers firing on all cylinders against the league's best away defence.

Galtier will demand an immediate response to last week's setback, but the absence of Delort is a big blow, and we are backing Les Rouge et Noir to keep their momentum going with yet another triumph.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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