All football teams around the world are disappointed about the COVID-19 pandemic, which struck almost all worldwide sports. All of them? There might be an exception. French Stade Rennais couldn’t find more convenient coincidence to take advantage of and celebrate a direct spot to next UEFA Champions League competition for the first time in the club’s history. The Bretons are preparing for their most glorious season looking back to the last months decisions and results, which brought them directly in the most prestigious UEFA competition’s group stage.
The first step was Ligue 1 decision about the premature finish last May. In contrast with all other major European leagues, who decided to go on in summer and finish their schedule, the French one was the only one which decided to considered the league completed with no less than ten matches remaining for every team.
Stade Rennais had a narrow (just one point) difference from 4th placed Lille OSC. With ten matches to go, there was much doubt whether “les rouges et noirs” would succeed grabbing the last place guiding to UEFA Champions League. They had a fair 5-2-3 record at their matches since the start of 2020, but just a few days before the league stopped they suffered a Coupe de France elimination from 17th placed Saint Etienne. At the same time Lille OSC had a 6-0-3 record, including a 1-0 win over Rennes on February 4th. This win secured a head start for Lille if there was an equality of points at the end of the season.
The league table was ratified as frozen after the 28th matchday. This meant that Stade Rennais has secured a place to UEFA Champions League qualifying stage. Having a tough path to pass, nothing was sure about their presence in the group stage next season, as they had to pass through at least a team representing a major European league.
But the synastry was at Stade Rennais favor, as the Bretons will skip the qualifying stages and progress directly to the group stage taking the Europa League winner place, thanks to France’s being in fifth place on the FIFA ranking. All four clubs still involved in the Europa League (Manchester United from England, Internazionale FC from Italy , Sevilla CF from Spain and Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine) and already qualified for the next Champions League have secured their progress in the semi-final stage, which means there’s no club left to take a place.
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