Jablonec and Rennes are both off the pace in Group K, meaning each need to win and hope on matchday five.
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Time is running out for both Jablonec and Rennes in their quest to reach the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. The Czech side prop up Group K on two points, with their French visitors just ahead of them on three, meaning both clubs need a win and a favourable result in the other game between Astana and Dynamo Kyiv to remain in contention.
• Jablonec's maiden group stage campaign has failed to yield a first victory, although they have scored in all four games. Their two previous home fixtures both ended in draws – against Dynamo (2-2) and Astana (1-1) – but they lost the return against the latter 2-1 in Kazakhstan on matchday four. They must now beat Rennes and hope Dynamo lose in Astana to keep their hopes alive ahead of matchday six.
• Rennes are on a three-game losing streak, away defeats at Astana (0-2) and Dynamo (1-3) sandwiching a home reverse to the Ukrainian side on matchday three (1-2). While victory at Jablonec is imperative, they must also hope that the game in Astana is not drawn if they are to maintain the possibility of a top-two finish.
• Rennes required an added-time penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa to defeat Jablonec 2-1 in Brittany on matchday one. It was Jablonec's first meeting with French opponents in UEFA competition.
• Rennes's two previous away games against Czech clubs both ended in defeat, although the most recent, 2-4 at Slovácko in the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup, was of scant significance given the French club had won the first leg 5-0.
• Third in last season's Czech Liga, Jablonec are competing in a UEFA group stage for the first time.
• They had 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 recorded just one win in their last ten European fixtures (D3 L6) – 3-2 at FC København in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. They have gone five games without a European home win, drawing each of the last three.
• 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 (1-2), Celtic (1-3) and eventual winners Atlético Madrid (1-3), 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, losing all four away games. Their last European away win outside the summer months was 3-1 at Lokomotiv Sofia in the first round of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup. They have lost eight in a row since then, the last four all by two-goal margins.
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 national team-mate of Jablonec pair Michal Trávník and Martin Doležal.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.