Rennes’ famous disillusions
National Cups, Ligue 1, Europe: Since six years Stade Rennais Online has been following the « Rouge et Noir », Rennes provided its fair share of deceptions. Following the elimination against Reims in the Coupe de France (3-4), a look at the six biggest “disillusions” for Stade Rennes in the last few years.
May 13th, 2006 : Stade Rennais 2 - 2 Lille (Ligue 1, 38th game week
April 9th, 2006: By beating Sochaux (2-1), Stade Rennes managed its eighth consecutive success. With four games left to play, Bölöni’s men were third in the ranking… And far from thinking they would not even qualify for any European competition. Rennes’ good form would come to an end the following week-end in Nice, were the “Rouge et Noir” were defeated 2-1. Them Rennes obtained to frustrating draws against Paris (1-1, with Paris equalising at the 90th minute) and in Saint-Étienne (0-0).
But the grand finale happened during the last match day, Route de Lorient, where everything was ready for a beautiful party. Rennes faced Lille, also pushing for a European position. The night started in the best of ways for the “Rouge et Noir”. Alexander Frei, back in the starting eleven after a long injury, celebrated his return with the Rennes fans by scoring a brace (35’, 65’). Rennes was in Europe. But as in its previous matches, Rennes would collapse in the latter stages of the game. In less than fifteen minutes, Lille caught up on the score board through Fauvergue (78’) and Bodmer (85’).
Powerless, the fans at the Stade de la Route de Lorient watched the LOSC celebrate, in Brittany, their qualification for the Champion’s League preliminary round. A position Stade Rennes was coveting only a few weeks earlier… before eventually finishing seventh and out of any European competition the following season.
December 20th, 2006 : Stade Rennais 0 - 1 Reims (Coupe de la Ligue, quarter-finals)
Happy Rennes! By eliminating Lille on their pitch in the round of 16 of the Coupe de la Ligue, they gained the « seed » status of the Nordic team, offering them the chance to host their games for the next rounds. Luck calling more luck, Dréossi’s men would face Reims, a Ligue 2 club, in the quarter-finals. In appearance, an easy qualification and the assurance to host their opponents in the semi-final: In other words, a freeway to the Stade de France was opened to the “Rouge et Noir”.
But this wasn’t a good assessment of our « Rouge et Noir ». Absolutely inexistent, unable to “manage three consecutive passes” – as Monterrubio analysed after the game -, Rennes was behind at the 52nd minute. In the last minutes of the game, Monterrubio were offered a chance to equalise on a penalty… but Liebus stopped his shot. Knocked out of the Coupe de la Ligue, then 11th in the League, Stade Rennes was heading for a very drab end of the season.
May 26th 2007: Lille 1 - 1 Stade Rennais (Ligue 1, 38th game week)
Lille, again. Assured to play a European cup since the previous match day and their large victory over Lorient (4-1), Rennes remained unsure what their European future would be made of, and all possibilities remained. Two conditions were necessary in order to qualify for the Champions’ League: Rennes had to beat Lille, while hoping that Bordeaux and Lens would not win.
As the match went to injury time in Villeneuve d’Ascq, the plan was coming together perfectly. The “Rouge et Noir” were leading since the 74th minute with a goal by Utaka, while Bordeaux and Lens were losing. Rennes was third and qualified for the Champions’ League preliminary round. Jimmy Briand and President Frédéric de Saint-Sernin had come down to the pitch and showed their impatience on the side lines. But in the last seconds of the game, Fauvergue was once again Rennes’ tormenter by equalising. Rennes would play the UEFA cup however, but it was only a meagre consolation.
October 2nd, 2008: FC Twente 1 - 0 Stade Rennais (UEFA Cup, 1st round, return leg)
The first round of the UEFA Cup? This should be, logically, an easy way towards the pool phase, especially with a modest opposition such as FC Twente. From the first leg already, the Dutch would cause all sort of troubles to Stade Rennes, who would manage to win 2-1 after conceding the first goal. A thin advantage that would show insufficient, two weeks later, in the Netherlands.
At the Grolsch Veste, in Enschede, Rennes was never put in real trouble. Briand was even scoring the first goal (23’) but his goal was disallowed for an inexistent offside. The tension was tangible, and the refereeing trio would receive a lot of criticism from the Rennes camp after the game. At the 68th minute, N’Kufo ended Stade Rennes’ European dreams, on a 1-0 defeat. Disappointing and frustrating.
May 9th, 2009 : Stade Rennais 1 - 2 En Avant Guingamp (Coupe de France, Final)
The whole of Brittany was celebrating. For the first time since 1971, Rennes was about to play a Coupe de France final, and this against another Breton club. The profile of the opposition gave Rennes an exceptional opportunity to snatch their first trophy in 38 years: Guingamp, a Ligue 2 club, were dragging themselves at the bottom of their leagues rankings. Everyone remembers what happened next.
At the Stade de France, Rennes dominated without really creating any danger. However, when Bocanegra scored the first goal (68’), the “Rouge et Noir” seemed well on their way to reopen their long-closed silverware cabinet. But the dream would last three minutes, and Eduardo would give nightmares to the Rennes defence. With two goals, the Brazilian swung the balance of the game. Guingamp went on to win the game, while Stade Rennes was certainly living one of the biggest disillusions in its history. The blow was severe, and would leave marks.
February 9th, 2010: US Quevilly 1 - 0 Stade Rennais (Coupe de France, Round of 16)
Nine months to the day after the final lost against Guingamp, emotion was still much present amongst the Rennes supporters, and hopes to return to the Stade de France were high. So, when Rennes had a chance to qualify for the Coupe de France’s quarter-finals (the penultimate stage before Saint-Denis) against a small amateur club, the memories returned. The fans started dreaming of a journey like the previous, with a happier ending this time.
On paper, Rennes should have had an easy game against Quevilly. And especially so, since they were in great form: they had won their last three matches, scoring four goals each time, including the last game in Bordeaux, then Ligue 1 leaders and unbeaten since nine games. Despite all the good omens, Antonetti’s men would fall in Quevilly’s trap and lose 1-0. Familiar scenes