It's derby day in France as Rennes and Nantes face off, but the away side are without their excellent youngster Paul-Georges Ntep.
Rennes against Nantes has always been one of France’s traditional derby games and after their 2-0 win over Lille last week and the cup win over Marseille, Rennes will be hoping to dampen the spirits of the Stade de Beaujoire on Sunday afternoon, but they will have to do it without former Arsenal target Paul-Georges Ntep.
The 22-year-old has scored four goals for Rennes this season and set up both goals last weekend in what was a dazzling display from the winger. However on Sunday afternoon, Coach Philippe Montanier will be without his star player as he serves a one-game suspension.
Ntep’s performances have been crucial to Rennes this season, but he does have other players in his squad that can fill the void.
Montanier will call upon Brazilian winger Pedro Henrique to take Ntep’s place on the left, leaving a choice between the inconsistent Pole Kamil Grosicki and Frenchman Benjamin André, who has just returned from injury.
Rennes are still without their Swedish striker Ola Toivonen and it should see the continued place for former Leeds United loanee Habib Habibou. The striker scored the opening goal against Lille, and will be hoping to become a fan-favourite with another strike against Nantes.
The town of Nantes was re-classified away from the region of Brittany, so you cannot officially call this match a “Breton derby” but it doesn’t stop the fans and players treating it as such. This is as fierce as a derby in France gets and should be a great spectacle.
Nantes will be looking for young striker Yacine Bammou to continue his good form. Les Canaris are unbeaten in the last five games and the former Paris Saint-Germain shop worker was on the score sheet again last week as Nantes put his side 2-0 up over Evian.
Bammou and France under-21 international Jordan Veretout are two of Nantes brightest talents, and if they can shine with Rennes missing the ability of Ntep, the home side could have enough to edge past the side from Brittany.