By Eskender Tamrat
When: 11:00AM EST, Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Where: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne, Loire, France
Betting Line: OFF
TV Coverage: beIN Sports
After conceding more than two goals for the first time since the opening day, AS Saint-Étienne (11-12-9) will host Stade Rennais F.C. (10-13-10) on Sunday. Christophe Galtier's side has a solid defensive record in the league and enforced personnel changes against Olympique de Marseille (14-9-10) led them to succumb to their heaviest defeat of the season, 4-0. Rennes lost heavily at relegation zone side AS Nancy (8-7-18) the previous week but return to the winning ways with a 2-0 home success against LOSC Lille (10-7-16).
Rennes beat Saint-Étienne with a similar scoreline back in early December. Before joining VfL Wolfsburg in January, Paul-George Ntep opened the scoring with his last goal for Rennes at Roazhon Park. Late substitute Kamil Grosicki added the second in injury-time. It was Rennes' first win in six meetings with Saint-Étienne, although four of them ended in draws. Florian Pogba, Alexander Søderlund and Loïc Perrin could be out from the home team's squad, while Adama Diakhaby and Ludovic Baal are doubtful to make the trip to Saint-Étienne.
Rennes returned to the top half of the standings following their win against Lille. Since narrowly losing against Paris Saint-Germain (24-5-4), Rennes remained unbeaten at home. But it was only their second home win in six attempts, as four of the games ended in stalemates. The Lille fixture was also the first time they scored more than a goal in a match since early February. Ndombe Mubele's strike in the third minute settled Rennes' nerves against a team who are defying odds with decent away results and abysmal home form. Giovanni Sio doubled the advantage before the half-hour mark with his eighth goal of the season, and Rennes managed to keep Lille at bay for the remaining hour to secure their tenth win of the league season.
Led by former Saint-Étienne marksman Bafétimbi Gomis, Marseille torn Galtier's team apart in the last round. The long-standing coach has been under pressure for failing to guide the club to the next level – presumably a return to Europe's premium competition – and the rare heavy defeat was a welcome opportunity for his detractors. Saint-Étienne, who reached the European Cup (today's Champions League) final back in 1975-76, won the league title more than any club, but their last triumph arrived back in 1980-81. The 2012-13 Coupe de la Ligue (second cup competition in France) is the only silverware they won under Galtier.
1. There have been more draws than wins for both sides in head-to-head fixtures between Rennes and Saint-Étienne. The former won 14 times, and Saint-Étienne triumphed in 12 occasions. 17 of the 43 previous meetings ended in draws.
2. Current Borussia Dortmund superstar and former Saint-Étienne goal-getter Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the fixture's top-scorer with his 3 goals against Rennes.
3. Christophe Galtier is Ligue 1's long-serving coach with seven-year (and counting) stay at Saint-Étienne. His counterpart Christian Gourcuff joined Rennes at the start of this season.
It would be a close game and both teams will struggle in front of goal.
Saint-Étienne 0, Rennes 0
|THREE WAY ODDS||America's Bookie||williamhill||bet365||gtbets||guts||sportsinteraction||topbet|
| Rennes |
@ Saint Etienne
| - |
| +300 |
| +320 |
| - |
| - |
| - |
| - |