Rennes v Bordeaux
Ligue 1. Kick Off 4:00pm, Sunday 2nd September 2018. Live BT Sports 3
BOTH of these teams have started the season solidly enough (and early) after finishing 5th and 6th respectively in Ligue 1 last season, ensuring Europa League participation.
Rennes reached the Group Stage relatively unscathed against Ventspils and Mariupol, but Bordeaux negotiated a tricky tie with Belgian side Gent, sneaking a 0-0 away then winning the midweek return leg 2-0 thanks to the strikes of front pair Francois Kamano, who has began the season well, and Jimmy Briand who converted from the spot.
That performance came after some serious upheaval for Les Girondins when Gus Poyet was sacked for voicing a very different viewpoint regarding transfers and the direction of the club under it's new US owners. Fitness coach Eric Bedouet has taken temporary charge for now, as he had to in 2011 when Jean Tigana resigned and Jocelyn Gourvennec left early this year before Poyet's reign.
Overtures to Thierry Henry haven't worked as he has stayed as assistant to Roberto Martinez with the Belgian national side, so the team need to try and concentrate on winning games and forget off-field distractions. This is something Bedouet seems to be encouraging, keeping calm and deflecting speculation about who the new manager will be.
Rennes are one of those sides that go about their business every season usually scoring and conceding in equal measure. They went 2-0 up away to Marsielle last week, only to be pegged back to 2-2 via a late own-goal by defender Ramy Bensabain. A narrow home win against Angers followed a 3-1 away reverse at Lille. They have their own threat too in young Senegalese forward Ismaila Sarr who's got a couple of strikes on the board this season.
Bordeaux are similarly matched, so there should be goals at each end. Kamano notched in the away defeat to Toulouse from a Briand assist, and bagged both in the home win against Monaco. The Gent result was a good one for Bordeaux that they should take heart from, so they could be a good bet to get something from what should be a good contest, as long as their midweek exertions don`t affect them too much.
Small stakes punts