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Rennes v Jablonec facts

Both Rennes and Jablonec qualified automatically for the group stage and will be keen to kick off with a win.

Rennes are returning to Europe for the first time in seven years
Rennes are returning to Europe for the first time in seven years ©AFP/Getty Images

Having both qualified automatically for the UEFA Europa League group stage, Rennes and Jablonec get their 2018/19 European campaigns off and running with a matchday one encounter in Brittany.

Previous meetings
• Jablonec have never faced French opposition in UEFA competition.

• Rennes's two home games against Czech clubs have brought a win and a draw; their last encounter was a 5-0 victory against Slovácko in the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Form guide
• Rennes earned their first ever qualifying exemption for a major UEFA club competition by finishing fifth in the 2017/18 Ligue 1.

• They have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage once before, in 2011/12, after coming through two qualifying rounds. Defeated in all three away fixtures, against Udinese, Celtic and eventual winners Atlético Madrid, they drew all three at home. That was the club's most recent European campaign.

• Rennes also participated twice in the UEFA Cup group stage, in 2005/06 and 2007/08, but were winless in those too (D2 L6). Nevertheless, they are unbeaten in their last nine home fixtures in the UEFA Cup/ UEFA Europa League, qualifying included.

Top ten goals of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League season

• Third in last season's Czech Liga, Jablonec are competing in a UEFA group stage for the first time.

• They have been unsuccessful in four previous attempts to qualify for the UEFA Europa League proper, falling in the third qualifying round in both 2010/11 and 2011/12 then losing play-offs against Real Betis in 2013/14 and Ajax in 2015/16.

• The Czech club have scored in only one of their last five European fixtures and have recorded just one win in their last six (D1 L4).

Links and trivia 
• Rennes have a Czech goalkeeper in Tomáš Koubek. He played for Jablonec's regional rivals Slovan Liberec in 2015/16 – on loan from Sparta Praha – and played twice against them, drawing 1-1 away and winning 3-2 at home. He also played for Sparta against Jablonec in 2016/17, losing 3-1 away.

• Koubek is a current Czech Republic international team-mate of Jablonec midfielder Michal Trávník.

• Another Czech keeper, the country's all-time record cap holder Petr Čech, had a two-year spell at Rennes before joining Chelsea in 2004.

• The Czech club are one of five making their debut this season in the UEFA Europa League proper. The other four are Akhisar, Dudelange, Sarpsborg and Spartak Trnava.

The coaches
• Sabri Lamouchi is a former French international midfielder who represented his country at EURO '96 after wining the domestic double that season with Auxerre. He also scooped the French title with Monaco in 1999/2000 before moving to Italy. His first managerial posting was as head coach to the Ivory Coast national side, whom he led at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. After two and a half years in charge of Qatari side El Jaish, he became Rennes boss in November 2017, replacing Christian Gourcuff.

• Petr Rada has taken on numerous coaching jobs in his native Czech Republic since hanging up his boots in 1996, including a nine-month spell as national team boss from July 2008. The former Dukla Praha defender's longest stint in charge of any team was at Jablonec between 2003 and 2007 and he returned over a decade later, in December 2017, steering the club to third place in the Czech Liga and into the group stage of a European club competition for the first time.