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Stade Rennais FC's UEFA Europa League hopes are hanging by a thread as they welcome Udinese Calcio on matchday five, needing a win to reignite their campaign and keep their dreams of progression alive.
• Rennes lost 2-1 in Italy when the sides met for the first time on matchday one. The visitors took an 18th-minute lead through Youssouf Hadji and dominated for 75 minutes, but goals from Antonio Di Natale (39) and Pablo Armero (83) condemned them to defeat.
• Rennes had previously met Serie A opponents in one of the three 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup finals, losing 2-0 against Juventus in a game played in Cesena before drawing the return fixture 2-2.
• Udinese's only previous meeting with French opponents came in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup round of 32, where they won 3-0 at home against RC Lens, progressing despite a 1-0 loss in the return fixture.
• Rennes have yet to win in four Group I games but can take comfort from their home form; they have not lost in their last nine continental games at the Stade Route de Lorient, recording five wins and four draws since losing 2-1 to PFC Lokomotiv Sofia on 4 October 2007.
• Udinese have not won in their last seven games on the road in Europe since a 2-1 victory at FC Spartak Moskva in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage. Since that match on 6 November 2008, the Zebrette have recorded two draws and five defeats on their travels.
• Rennes midfielder Stéphane Dalmat is in line to make his 50th appearance in a UEFA club competition; the 32-year-old has represented RC Lens, Olympique de Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Internazionale Milano, FC Girondins de Bordeaux and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in Europe. His two goals in those 49 games came for Inter and Bordeaux.
• Udinese boast French-born talent in the form of Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia. Benatia has played against Rennes' Benoît Costil on 29 January 2010, with Costil's CS Sedan-Ardennes side winning 3-0 at Benatia's Clermont Foot Auvergne.
• Once a player for SC Bastia in his native Corsica, Rennes coach Frédéric Antonetti took charge of Bastia, AS Saint-Étienne and OGC Nice before being handed his current job in 2009. He has not featured in Europe since leading Bastia from the UEFA Intertoto Cup to the second round of the UEFA Cup in 1997/98.
• Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin spent the bulk of his playing career with Hellas-Verona FC. His coaching career included a stint in charge of AS Monaco FC in 2005/06. Since then he has been in charge of US Città di Palermo and Parma FC, taking over for a second spell at Udinese in 2010.
• Udinese are one of five clubs Guidolin has led in Europe along with Vicenza Calcio, Bologna FC, Monaco and Palermo. He successfully guided Monaco through the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage but missed the cut with Palermo the following season.
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