Paris Saint-Germain will gear up for their second match of this new edition of Ligue 1 as they lock horns with Stade Rennais on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping to maintain their winning momentum as they visit Stade de la Route de Lorient to face Stade Rennais on Sunday. The reigning French champions are coming on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over Nimes in their opening league game of the 2019/20 Ligue 1 campaign.

They were quite dominant against Les Crocodiles last weekend, with goals from Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria helping them secure an excellent victory at Parc des Princes. But, things could be tricky this time around against a Stade Rennais side, who are one of the most unpredictable teams in the French top division.

The club from northwest France finished tenth in the league last term, with 52 points on the board. They also secured a narrow win over Montpellier in the opening game and will be full of confidence heading into this fascinating fixture on Sunday.

However, the Red and Blacks have an awful record against PSG, having failed to win in any of their last eight home games. Young manager Julien Stephan will be hoping to change that, although we expect the hosts to defend deep and try and salvage a point against the French champions.

Here at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their clash on Sunday evening.

Team News & Tactics

Stade Rennais

Stade Rennais manager Stephan will be forced to make at least one change after attacker Flavien Tait was sent off last weekend. The summer signing from SCO Angers will likely be replaced by Benjamin Bourigeaud, who will form the offensive partnership with M’Baye Niang.

Rennes' Senegalese forward M'Baye Niang celebrates after scoring a goal during the French Cup semi-final football match between Lyon (OL) and Rennes (SRFC) at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, central-eastern France, on April 2, 2019. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

Niang’s performance will likely shape the fate of Rennes in this fixture. (Photo by Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

Stephan is likely to stick to his preferred 5-3-2 formation, with Hamari Traore and Faitout Maouassa retaining their place in the wing-back slots. Both of these players are expected to operate in a deeper role and help out the defenders due to the quality of the opposition.

Speaking of defence, the back three will comprise of Damien Da Silva, Jeremy Gelin and Jeremy Morel, who scored the only goal in the win over Montpellier. They will be expecting a busy evening against the mighty PSG attack.

No changes are expected in midfield with James Lea Siliki partnering Eduardo Camavinga and Clement Grenier. They will look to nullify the creative threat PSG possess in the middle third of the pitch, with Camavinga, in particular, set to play a key role.

Eduoard Mendy missed out last weekend but the Senegalese keeper could return in goal tomorrow, replacing Romain Salin.

Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Mendy; Traore, Silva, Gelin, Morel, Maouassa; Lea Siliki, Camavinga, Grenier; Bourigeaud, M’Baye Niang.

Paris Saint-Germain

Thilo Kehrer has been ruled out after the German suffered a foot injury in the win over Nimes. PSG have no shortage of replacements though and we expect Thomas Meunier to slot in as the right-back. However, Thomas Tuchel may want to shift into a 3-4-1-2 setup in order to mirror Rennes’ 3-5-2.

Set to join Manchester United? (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Meunier will replace Kehrer at right wing-back. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

That means Meunier will operate as a wing-back along with Juan Bernat, who will retain his role on the opposite flank. These two will be dealt with the responsibility of providing width to the attack that will be led by the dynamic duo of Mbappe and Cavani.

In midfield, Marco Verratti is a guaranteed starter while Angel Di Maria’s excellent performance will likely earn him a start, at the expense of Julian Draxler. But, deploying a three-man backline will force the holding midfielder Marquinhos to shift into central defence. There, he will be partnered by compatriot Thiago Silva and summer signing Abdou Diallo.

Pablo Sarabia may continue to operate as the lone attacking midfielder, though he may have to oscillate between attack and midfield. And finally, Alphonso Areola is expected to retain his place in between the sticks, with PSG having no viable alternatives.

Probable Lineup(3-4-1-2): Areola; Silva, Marquinhos, Diallo; Meunier, Verratti, Di Maria, Bernat; Sarabia; Mbappe, Cavani.

Key Stats

  • Rennes are one of two teams, alongside Lyon, who have won the most games against PSG in Ligue 1 over the past ten seasons (four wins in 18 games).
  • Rennes are winless in their last eight home games against PSG in Ligue 1 (D2 L6), after winning each of the previous five.
  • Rennes are unbeaten in their last six games in Ligue 1 (W3 D3) – only Lyon(7) are currently on a longer run among teams in the competition in 2019/20 campaign.
  • Paris have won 15 of their last 16 games in August, with the only exception coming against Monaco on 28th August 2016.
  • Rennes have lost only one of their last 12 home games in Ligue 1.

Player to watch

Angel Di Maria

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Nimes Olympique on August 11, 2019 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Di Maria spill his magic once again? (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

Di Maria will undoubtedly play a key role in this fixture as he is expected to replace Draxler in the advanced midfield role. The Argentine is coming on the back of a good performance against Nimes, where he scored the third goal.

The 31-year-old has the ability to manipulate defenders with his clever movements and nimble football, which should prove to be quite effective against a Rennes side that is expected to defend in deep blocks. That means both Cavani and Mbappe will be tightly marked and it will be up to the midfielders to create a major impact.

It won’t be surprising to see if the ex-Man United star walks away with the MOTM this weekend if he is given too much space and time by the opposing defenders.

Prediction

Stade Rennais 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain

PSG are likely to cruise through yet another victory tomorrow and continue their winning momentum in this new season. The French champions boast a strong record against Rennes and it’s unlikely Tuchel’s side will be fazed by their attacking prowess, especially with Marquinhos shifting into a defensive position.

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