Celtic will travel to France as they take on Rennes in the opening game of the Europa League group stage. Now Rennes manager, Julien Stephan, has named four Celtic stars that he fears going into Thursday’s match.
After a disappointing elimination from the Champions League qualification round at the hands of CFR Cluj, the Scottish Champions managed to make it to the Europa League with a convincing 6-1 aggregate win over AIK in the Play-Off round. Now, Celtic will kick off their Europa League campaign against Rennes this Thursday as they look to feature in the knockout stage of the competition for the third straight season.
Standing in their way will be French Ligue 1 side, Rennes. The club came 10th last season in the French League and managed to make it to the Round of 16 in the Europa League. They have made a blistering start to the 2019/20 season currently sitting 2nd in the Ligue 1 table and already have 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.
The tie between the French club and the Scottish Champions is very much in the balance though as their pre-season friendly this July ended in a 0-0 draw. And Rennes manager, Julien Stephan, has claimed that Lennon’s side is better than the Celtic team that made it to the Round of 32 under Brendan Rodgers last season.
According to the Daily Record, Stephan said:
“This is a totally different group from last year. We think it’s a stronger team. They are used to winning their national championship very regularly, every year almost.
“It’s a very big team with lots of experience at our level and with lots of international players.
The 39-year-old also insisted that Celtic’s experience meant that they were one of the favourites in the group along with Italian giants, Lazio. He even went as far as to name four Celtic players who his side would have to be wary of when they on the Glasgow side although he feels that their home advantage could play a big factor in the tie:
“They can play in the air and they are very technical, with Callum McGregor , Ryan Christie, James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard just to mention a few.
“I do believe that Celtic is also one of the favourites. As far as experience goes, for instance, they should be able to perform well, maybe just behind Lazio.
“This is a well-balanced team. We know it’s going to be difficult but we are very lucky to be playing at home and the supporters are going to have a big role in a possible win.”
While the Rennes manager is busy singing the praises of the Scottish Champions, Neil Lennon’s manager should also be wary of the threat that the French side possess. They are a very dangerous at home, where they defeated Arsenal 3-1 last season and already own a victory over Paris Saint-Germain in 2019/20.