Preview: Paris-Rennes

As Paris Saint-Germain host Rennes in the Coupe de France semi-finals on Wednesday 3 April at 21:10, we take a closer look at the capital club's next match. Check out Les Rouge et Bleu's route to the semi-finals, the key aspects of the game and the players to watch.


Paris Saint-Germain began their Coupe de France adventure with a comfortable 9-0 victory over US Revel (D6) in the last 64 of the competition. In the next round, the capital club defeated US Orléans (National 1, D3) at the Stade la Source (1-4), before winning in the last 16 against Stade Brestois 29 (3-1) and then in the quarter-finals against OGC Nice (3-1), both at the Parc des Princes. And this Wednesday, Les Rouge et Bleu will be hoping to topple another of France's heavyweights - once again at the Porte d'Auteuil - to book their place in the Coupe de France final.

For their part, Stade Rennais FC have also enjoyed a brilliant campaign. After a comfortable 0-2 win at Guingamp (Ligue 2) in the Round of 64, the Rennais outfit won the Round of 32 clash at Roazhon Park against Olympique de Marseille after an epic penalty shoot-out (1-1, 9-8 on penalties). In the next round, the Bretons put on a good show and avoided slipping on the banana skin away to Sochaux, with a comprehensive 1-6 win over FCSM (National 1) at the Stade Bonal. Rennes then went on to face Puy Foot 43 (National 2, D4) in the quarter-finals, where they recorded another away win, this time at Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (1-3) to book their place in the final four of the competition.


This Wednesday evening, Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to book their place in a 20th Coupe de France final. And to do so, the capital club will be able to rely on the fans at the Parc des Princes, where Les Rouge et Bleu have lost just one of their last 52 Coupe de France matches (two draws, one defeat). Over that period, the Parisian attack has found the net 51 times. Paris Saint-Germain can also rely on their strong defensive record at home, having kept seven clean sheets in their last nine home games in the competition. So far, the semi-finals have proven to be a great success for the capital club, who have qualified in their last 16 matches at this stage of the competition (14 wins and two draws with qualification form the ensuing penalty shoot-out).

As for Stade Rennais FC, the Ille-et-Vilaine outfit emerged victorious from their last encounter with the Parisians in the Coupe de France: that was in 2019, when they won the final thanks to a dramatic shoot-out (2-2, 6-5 on pens). Since then, SRFC have faced Paris ten times in all competitions, winning four, drawing two and losing four. Used to reaching the last four of the Coupe de France, Les Rouge et Noir are about to play their eighth semi-final in this competition since the beginning of the 21st century. This is the most appearances at this stage of the competition over that period... behind Paris Saint-Germain, who will be playing in their 14th Coupe de France semi-final since 2000.                                                                          


Julien Stéphan and his team play mainly in a 4-3-3 formation. In goal, the highly experienced Steve Mandanda is the undisputed first-choice. Since the arrival of the Breton coach, the former French international has even been given the captain's armband. In front of him, Belgian international Arthur Theate is expected to start, while Warmed Omari and Christopher Wooh will battle it out for the second centre-half spot. Promising France youth international Jeanuël Belocian (19), meanwhile, looks set to miss out. On the right side of defence, newly-crowned Côte d'Ivoire international Guéla Doué currently holds favour, but Alidu Seidu also presents a credible option in this position.

At the other end of the spectrum, French international Adrien Truffert ( two goals and five assists in all competitions this season) is back from suspension and should start at left-back, while his young understudy Mahamadou Nagida (18) is still out with a meniscus injury. In midfield, Benjamin Bourigeaud (13 goals, eight assists) is having an exceptional season and should obviously be in the starting line-up. Behind him, Baptiste Santamaria seems best placed to fill the holding midfield role. The third starting berth could therefore go to Azor Matusiwa or Désiré Doué (three goals, five assists), while the invaluable Enzo Le Fée (five assists) is back and could also be in with a chance of starting - as could Fabian Rieder.

In attack too, Les Rouge et Noir have plenty to offer. On the right wing, Ludovic Blas (seven goals, one assist) could start, as could the versatile Amine Gouiri (nine goals, three assists), who distinguished himself on his last visit to the Parc. The Algerian international is also a chance to play up front, where the competition is fierce with the presence of Arnaud Kalimuendo (11 goals, two assists). On the left flank, on the other hand, the hierarchy seems more established, with Martin Terrier (eight goals, three assists) expected to start the match, one step ahead of super-sub Ibrahim Salah (five goals, one assist). The Parisians have been warned: they will be up against a talented Rennes side.