Cup-winning Nantes stay zen as stakes rise for Rennes, Nice and Saint-Etienne

·2-min read

Rennes continue their hunt for a place in next season's Champions League on Wednesday night at a Nantes side who will parade their recently acquired Coupe de France trophy just before kick-off at the Stade Beaujoire.

Antoine Kombouaré's men beat Nice 1-0 at the Stade de France on Saturday night to lift the trophy for the fourth time in the club's history.

Victory over the visitors will keep them in with a chance of achieving their highest finish in the top flight since Sergio Concecaio led them to seventh place in the 2016-17 season.

Rennes boss Bruno Genesio warned his players they would need to maintain their focus against a side in triumphal mood.

"We're going to have to stay calm," said Genesio. "We'll have to be see who has the most desire and who puts the most into the game."

A win for Rennes would take them into third place - the berth that leads to the qualifying rounds for next season's group stages of the Champions League.

Rennes could even move into second on Saturday night should they beat Marseille - who occupy that slot for the second automatic place in the Champions League.

"We must have ambition," added Genesio. "It's not going to happen by itself. It will be very difficult."

Fight

At the other end of the table Saint-Etienne, who occupy the relegation play-off place of 18th, play at Nice, who are pushing for a place in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.

A win would give the visitors to the Allianz Riviera a six-point cushion over 19th-placed Metz and also send bottom-club Bordeaux into the second division.

"We have the good fortune of still being in with a chance and we're going to play that chance to the full," said Saint-Etienne coach Pascal Dupraz.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty but the players are doing everything I've asked of them," Dupraz added. "We only had 12 points at the mid way point of the season but we're still in with a shout of survival with three games to go."

Should Rennes slip up at Nantes, Nice could - with a win - rise two places into the the berth that leads to the Europa League.

A chance for some kind of redemption, according to coach Christophe Galtier.

"Losing the final was a huge disappointment," Galtier added. "But we have 60 points in Ligue 1. We've been able to win 18 games in the league, go to the final of the Coupe de France and we have a game which can take us back up into the spots for next season's European compeitions.

"We've got something to look forward to."

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