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Ligue 1 preview: Rennes rely on Danze

Rennes defender Romain Danze is the most recognisable player in Ligue 1 this season.

Danze, 24, has not missed a single minute all season, racking up 2,520 consecutive minutes.

He will again be on hand to try to revive Stade Rennes’s title hopes at home to lowly Auxerre on Saturday

Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti says Danze typifies the no-nonsense approach at the club this season, which he says has pushed the unfashionable team up the table.

“All the faith we put in Danze at the start of the season has been confirmed,” Antonetti told the club website.

“He never drops his performance level. He is a player you can rely on.”

Rennes, ninth last term, won five games in a row to surge to second but a 2-0 home defeat by champions Olympique Marseille and a 1-1 draw at fellow title challengers Olympique Lyon last time out meant they have slipped to third.

Surprise leaders Lille are five points above Rennes who will be wary of Auxerre after they pulled off a 2-0 win over Sochaux before the international break to move three points clear of third from bottom Monaco.

Auxerre, a fertile breeding ground in the past for top talent such as Eric Cantona, finished third last term but following a Champions League group exit their season has gone from bad to worse.

Lille continue to confound the doubters who felt they were not sufficiently equipped to stay ahead of the pack and Saturday’s home match with mid-table Caen is the perfect chance to tighten their grip on top spot.

Marseille, in second, are four points adrift and travel to Racing Lens on Sunday without suspended centre back Souleymane Diawara and striker Brandao, who has joined Brazilians Cruzeiro on loan after being investigated over an alleged rape in France.

In other Saturday games, cellar dweller Avignon are at home to third-bottom Monaco who are 17 points above them but still in relegation danger while Nancy host Bordeaux and Sochaux are at home to Brest.

Sunday’s games feature Nice at home to Lyon and Saint Etienne host Valenciennes.

Thu 31 March, 2011
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