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Thu 16 September 2021, 12:03|Tottenham Hotspur

This evening, we kick-off our UEFA Europa Conference League group stage campaign with a trip to Stade Rennais (kick-off 5.45pm UK).

Here’s a look at all the key points of note ahead of the game...

1 - Rare Rennes rendezvous

This will be our first ever meeting against Rennes, both in terms of competitive and friendly encounters. The French side have faced three English sides previously in European competition. In 2001, they took on a David Ginola-sporting Aston Villa in the Intertoto Cup while, in more recent times, they have met Arsenal in the Europa League (2018/19) and Chelsea in last season's Champions League.

2 - Last time out in France

We last visited the French Republic in February, 2013, for the second leg of our Europa League round of 32 tie with Lyon. Having edged the first leg 2-1 at White Hart Lane thanks to two Gareth Bale free-kicks, our French opponents brought the affair level within 17 minutes of kick-off at the Stade de Gerland through Maxime Gonalons. As we headed into the last few seconds of the game, that strike looked to be taking the tie into extra-time, however, out of the blue, Mousa Dembele came up with an arrowed strike from 25 yards out to send us through to the final 16.

3 - Friends in foes

Both Nuno Espirito Santo and Stade Rennais boss Bruno Genesio could face players that they once coached this evening. For Nuno, he coached Rennes goalkeeper Romain Salin during his second season in charge of Portuguese side Rio Ave (2013/14). For Genesio, he managed our number 28, Tanguy Ndombele, during the midfielder’s spell at Lyon (2017-2019). Meanwhile, Tanguy will also be aware of Rennes’ Martin Terrier, who he played alongside at les Gones, as well as the French Under-21 side.

4 - History for Harry?

Harry Kane will become our outright all-time top European appearance maker if he plays against Stade Rennais this evening. The striker is currently on 64 appearances in European competitions for us, level with Legendary captain Steve Perryman. Harry is already our all-time top goalscorer in European competitions with 40 goals to his name. Hugo Lloris, meanwhile, would go level with Perryman on 64 European appearances if he is involved against Rennes.

6 - French connection

Four of our current squad have faced Stade Rennais previously during their respective stints in France. Hugo Lloris made 13 appearances against Rennes during his spells at Nice and Lyon, winning two games, drawing eight and losing three. Lucas Moura faced our French opponents eight times during his stay at Paris Saint Germain, winning six of those fixtures, drawing one and losing the other. He scored for PSG in a 4-0 Coupe de France win over Rennes in February, 2017. Tanguy Ndombele has also faced Rennes four times in his career, all coming during his stay with Lyon, winning once and losing the other three

Giovani Lo Celso meanwhile has faced no side more times in his career than this evening's opponents. To date, the Argentine midfielder has turned out against Rennes on six occasions, taking victory three times, drawing once and losing the other two. He also has three goals to his name against the Rouge et Noir. Opening his account against them with the winner for Paris Saint Germain in the Coupe de la Ligue semi-finals in January, 2018, our number 18 then scored in each leg of Real Betis’ round of 32 defeat to Rennes in February, 2019.

7 - Club crossover

Two of our former players have also worn the colours of Rennes in their playing careers. Stephane Dalmat, who spent the 2003/04 season on loan with us, later went on to play for Stade Rennais between 2010-12. In the campaign that followed Dalmat’s stint in north London, we were then joined by Erik Edman, who also only played for us for a sole term before he moved onto the Roazhon Park in the summer of 2005.

8 - Former adversaries

Two members of Rennes’ current squad have come up against us in recent seasons. Firstly, forward M’Baye Niang was in action against us at our former home of White Hart Lane in April, 2017, as he spent the second half of the 2016/17 season on loan at Watford - we were 4-0 winners that day. Secondly, defender Jeremy Gelin turned out for Royal Antwerp last season, opponents of ours in our Europa League group. He was involved in both of our group stage matches against the Belgian side.

9 - Nuno on Rennes: ‘Aggressive on the press’

Nuno Espirito Santo is expecting a tough test for us in France – especially as we encounter Rennes’ high-pressing style. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Nuno said on Rennes: “We looked at Rennes and analysed them as a team from the previous game and the game before that. We know we are going to find a tough match, a tough team, one that is very aggressive on the press. (With Rennes) playing at home, we know it is going to be harder. We also have a lot of experience in Europe, (but) the past doesn't mean big things now. This is the present and we have to deal with the situation now, and Rennes represent a tough, tough challenge for us and we have to raise our standards.”

10 - Frustrations in France

We've yet to win in France. Since our first trip to our neighbours across the English Channel - a 1-0 Cup Winners’ Cup defeat to Lyon in 1967 - we've lost once and drawn twice in three matches. We lost against Lyon in that meeting in the late 1960s, we then drew 0-0 away at Nantes in the UEFA Cup in 1971 before we returned to Lyon in 2013 and also picked up a draw (1-1). We have never scored more than once in any of our outings in the French Republic.