Leicester City continue their bid to win the Europa Conference League with the first leg of their last-16 tie with Rennes on Thursday night.
At a time when the Foxes currently find themselves down in 12th position in the Premier League standings, French outfit Rennes occupy fourth place in Ligue 1
Having once insinuated that he had not been paying attention to the workings of the Europa Conference League, it came across that Brendan Rodgers was not the biggest fan of another continental competition being added to the schedule.
However, it has aided Leicester’s squad in their efforts to find some form, the 4-1 win over Randers on February 17 the first of four wins from five outings.
The level of opposition has not been that great, but there was a new-found resilience about how Leicester kept a clean sheet against Leeds United at the weekend, albeit through riding their luck on occasions.
Still sitting 12 points adrift of seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester are unlikely to secure European football through the Premier League, increasing the importannce of the contest on Thursday.
Leicester eventually prevailed 7-2 on aggregate in the previous round with Harvey Barnes and James Maddison netting two goals apiece against their Danish opponents.
Rennes’ Jeremy Doku celebrates scoring their second goal with teammate on November 28, 2021© Reuters
Rennes missed out on a trip to England earlier this campaign when their fixture at Tottenham Hotspur was postponed due to coronavirus cases in the opposition ranks.
Nevertheless, in recording a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture, Rennes showed that they have enough quality to make this a 50-50 tie, particularly now that they are competing for second spot in Ligue 1.
Five wins from seven top-flight fixtures have left Bruno Genesio’s team just three points adrift of Nice, and they will have high hopes of earning a return to the Champions League for 2022-23.
Ten goals have come from victories over Troyes, Montpellier and Angers, Gaetan Laborde scoring in each of those encounters to take his tally to 19 for the campaign.
Rennes have avoided defeat in each of their seven games in this competition, netting 15 times during those fixtures.