Coupe de France Preview: Rennes v Guingamp
By Football News
Rennes will aim to avenge their 2009 Coupe de France final heartbreak against Guingamp when the sides meet again in Saturday's showpiece.
Since claiming the Coupe de France in 1971, Rennes have failed to win any significant honours, coming agonisingly close to doing so on a number of occasions.
The Route de Lorient club were beaten 1-0 by Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de la Ligue final last year, which came 12 months after their loss to minnows Quevilly in the Coupe de France semi-finals.
However, Rennes' best chance to end their major trophy drought came in 2009, when they slipped to a shock 2-1 defeat to their then second-tier local rivals.
Philippe Montanier's men will undoubtedly be eager to atone for that bitter disappointment, but should be wary of a Guingamp side that has already beaten them twice in the league this season.
Having recorded 2-0 wins in both league encounters, Jocelyn Gourvennec's charges will likely be full of confidence heading into the final having beaten big-spending Monaco 3-1 after extra time in the semi-finals.
But Guingamp do not approach the encounter in good form, with Saturday's 1-0 victory over Valenciennes ending a run of five straight defeats for the relegation-threatened club.
Gourvennec will have a near fully-fit squad to choose from for the clash, with defender Christophe Kerbrat the only player expected to miss out because of a thigh injury.
Left-back Cheikh M'Bengue (thigh) is a doubt for Rennes, while captain Romain Danze is facing a race against time to be fit for the match following a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the semi-final win over Angers.
Danze is the only player remaining on either side from the 2009 final, and the 27-year-old has been quick to play down talk of revenge.
"The MRI scan revealed that there was nothing significant," Danze told Rennes' official website. "From that time, we established a schedule to be able to play on Saturday.
"I have taken several steps successfully but there are still others. There are several training sessions before the final. A lot can still happen. We'll see what the coach decides.
"So many things have changed since five years ago. There remains only one player in both teams. The staffs and officials are not the same. I don't know if we can talk about revenge.
"This is the 15th in the championship (Rennes) against the 16th (Guingamp). Guingamp has four wins against us in the last four competitive matches. This season we were beaten 2-0 twice.
"If we must pick a favourite, then it is Guingamp who has the advantage."