Rennes v CFR Cluj facts

A first victory in Group E is the target for Rennes, who have one point as they welcome CFR Cluj to Brittany.

M'Baye Niang scored for Rennes in their last home fixture
M'Baye Niang scored for Rennes in their last home fixture ©AFP/Getty Images

A first victory in UEFA Europa League Group E is the target for Rennes as they welcome CFR Cluj to Brittany, the Romanian champions and current league leaders having taken three points from their opening two fixtures.

• Rennes were held 1-1 at home by Celtic on Matchday 1 before losing 2-1 to Lazio in Rome, with leads surrendered in both matches. CFR came from behind themselves to beat the Italian side 2-1 at home but then lost 2-0 away to Celtic, who they had eliminated in UEFA Champions League qualifying during the summer.

Previous meetings
• Rennes have played just one European match against Romanian opposition, losing 2-0 at Rapid Bucureşti in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage. The French club's coach that day was a Romanian, Laszló Bölöni.

• CFR are also without a win against French clubs in six UEFA encounters, drawing the first three and losing the next three, including both matches against Bordeaux in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage (0-1 a, 1-2 h).

Highlights: Lazio 2-1 Rennes
Highlights: Lazio 2-1 Rennes

Form guide
Rennes
• Rennes earned their second successive direct qualification to the UEFA Europa League group stage by defeating holders Paris Saint-Germain on penalties in a dramatic 2018/19 French Cup final. They also reached the UEFA Europa League round of 16 last term, finishing second in their group with nine points and knocking out Real Betis before succumbing 4-3 on aggregate to eventual runners-up Arsenal (3-1 h, 0-3 a).

• The Brittany club are in their third UEFA Europa League group stage, the first of their campaigns in 2011/12 having ended unsuccessfully after three home draws and three away defeats. Rennes also participated twice in the UEFA Cup group stage, in 2005/06 and 2007/08, but were winless in those too (D2 L6).

• A 1-2 defeat by Dynamo Kyiv on Matchday 3 last season is Rennes' only loss in their last 15 UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League home fixtures, qualifying included (W7 D7).

Highlights: Celtic 2-0 CFR Cluj
Highlights: Celtic 2-0 CFR Cluj

CFR
• CFR claimed their fifth Romanian league title – and second in succession – in 2018/19, all those triumphs having come since 2008. In Europe, they lost to Malmö in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League (0-1 h, 1-1 a) and got no further than the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they were beaten twice (0-2 a, 2-3 h) by Dudelange of Luxembourg.

• A 1-0 loss at Astana kicked off this season's UEFA Champions League campaign, but CFR turned that tie around with a 3-1 home success and went on to beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv (1-0 h, 2-2 a) before memorably knocking out Celtic (1-1 h, 4-3 a). Slavia Praha proved too strong, however, in the play-offs, winning both games 1-0 to send CFR into their second UEFA Europa League group stage; the first, in 2009/10, ended with just one win and five defeats.

• CFR have lost all five of their previous away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League proper without scoring a goal, the last four having all ended 2-0 to their hosts.

Highlights: Rennes 1-1 Celtic
Highlights: Rennes 1-1 Celtic

Links and trivia
• CFR's French-born Mali international midfielder Yacouba Sylla played for Rennes in 2015/16, making 20 Ligue 1 appearances.

• Sylla is a Mali team-mate of Rennes defender Hamari Traoré, while Souleyman Doumbia (Rennes) and Lacina Traoré (CFR) are Ivory Coast internationals.

• CFR striker Billel Omrani, who scored the winner against Lazio, was born in France and started his career with Marseille, where he formed a close bond with current Rennes goalkeeper Édouard Mendy. Another Rennes player, Jérémy Morel, was also a team-mate during Omrani's time at the Stade Vélodrome.

• CFR's Lithuanian goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis and Rennes' Senegalese forward M'Biaye Niang were both at Watford during the second half of 2016/17 but never played a first-team fixture together.

Highlights: CFR Cluj 2-1 Lazio
Highlights: CFR Cluj 2-1 Lazio

The coaches
• Handed the coaching reins at Rennes on an interim basis in December 2018, reserve team boss Julien Stéphan made such a positive impact that he was soon handed an 18-month deal. In the spring of 2019 the Rennes native not only led the Brittany club into the UEFA Europa League round of 16 but also to a sensational Coupe de France final victory on penalties against Paris Saint-Germain. He is the son of Guy Stéphan, the assistant coach to Didier Deschamps of reigning world champions France.

• The sixth most-capped Romanian international of all time, with 95 appearances, Petrescu played in four successive major tournaments from 1994 to 2000. The attacking right-back also carved out a successful career at club level, notably with Steaua Bucureşti and in England at Chelsea, with whom he spent five years and won three major trophies. He has had a diverse coaching career, the highlight a surprise Romanian title triumph with Unirea Urziceni in 2008/09 – a feat he repeated with CFR Cluj in 2017/18 and again the following season after returning from China in March 2019.

FootballPeople weeks
The FootballPeople weeks take place from 10 to 24 October 2019 and are organised by UEFA's social responsibility partner Fare. The weeks are a global campaign aimed at tackling discrimination and celebrating diversity in football. The UEFA Europa League is offering its full support to the FootballPeople weeks; teams will line up for a mixed photo with the referees, while an #EqualGame hashtag will also be on display. Videos will be played on giant screens at stadiums across Europe, and child mascots will be wearing #FootballPeople t-shirts. UEFA's collaboration with the Fare network's FootballPeople weeks has been running since 2001. The aim of this initiative fits in perfectly with the goals of #EqualGame, which is looking to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility.

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