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The lowdown on Celtic’s Europa League opponents Rennes

Neil Lennon’s side visit France on Thursday.

Julien Stephan’s Rennes host Celtic on Thursday (Nick Potts/PA)
Julien Stephan’s Rennes host Celtic on Thursday (Nick Potts/PA)

By Gavin McCafferty, PA

Celtic open their Europa League group campaign against Rennes on Thursday.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the French side.

Manager

Julien Stephan has enjoyed a glorious 10 months as Rennes head coach after stepping up from the club’s B team. The 39-year-old helped the Breton club reach the last 16 of the Europa League before leading them to their first major trophy in 48 years with a shoot-out victory over Paris St Germain in the French Cup final.

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Julien Stephan is the man in charge at Rennes (Nick Potts/PA)

Recent form

Rennes underwent a major transition in the summer with six of their cup winners departing, including former Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa. But they have started the Ligue 1 season in good form, beating PSG 2-1, and sit second behind the champions with 10 points from five matches. Their latest was a goalless derby draw with Brest.

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Hatem Ben Arfa left Rennes in the summer (Nick Potts/PA)

Star man

Teenager Eduardo Camavinga shot to prominence with a stunning display against PSG in the league, including a sublime assist for the winner, which earned the 16-year-old the mantle of the youngest player to set up a Ligue 1 goal. The Angola-born playmaker has played every league game and was named the top flight’s player of the month for August.

European pedigree

Rennes reached the last 16 of the Europa League last season, finishing behind Dynamo Kiev in their group but ahead of Astana and Jablonec. They went on to beat Real Betis before losing to Arsenal. Rangers beat Rennes in the first round of their triumphant European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign in the early 1970s and the Bretons struggled to make their mark on rare forays into European competition until their run to the second knockout round last season.

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Rennes were knocked out by Arsenal last season (Nick Potts/PA)

Head-to-head

The teams met at this stage during Neil Lennon’s first spell as manager, in the 2011-12 Europa League. Celtic drew 1-1 in France, with Joe Ledley earning a point after Cha Du-Ri’s own goal, before the Hoops won 3-1 at Parkhead thanks to an Anthony Stokes double and a Gary Hooper strike. The teams also played out a goalless friendly in Glasgow in July. The match featured 23 substitutions with young players such as Karamoko Dembele and Grant Savoury coming on for Celtic.

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Anthony Stokes scored twice in the home leg when Celtic last faced Rennes competitively (Lynne Cameron/PA)

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