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Guingamp challenge Rennes in an all-Breton final

Latest update : 2009-05-09

Stade Rennes will try to win their first French Cup since 1971 as they take on Ligue 2 side Guingamp in a Brittany derby in the final at the Stade de France.

AFP - Saturday sees the spotlight fall on Brittany as two of the France's lesser lights, Rennes and Guingamp, go toe-to-toe in the French Cup final at Stade de France.
  
Rennes, seventh in the top flight and with an eye on Europe via the league should they slip up against their second tier rivals, have won the trophy twice, in 1965 and 1971 while they also lost two pre-war finals.
  
Guingamp, in contrast, have never won the competition, agonisingly missing out in a penalty shootout against Nice in 1997.
  
With the big names having fallen by the wayside, Rennes' coach Guy Lacombe and his charges, who warmed up with a win last weekend away to Paris Saint Germain, see glory swimming into view.
  
Veteran striker Mickael Pagis, twice a league cup winner in his career with first Sochaux then Strasbourg, but twice a French Cup final loser with Marseille, is likely to start on the bench but hopes his moment of glory may come at the age of 35.
  
"That would be three wins out of six in finals overall - a French Cup win would really top the league cup successes," explained the oldest outfield player in the French top flight.
  
Rennes' Swedish skipper Petter Hansson is a doubt with a calf strain.
  
Guingamp are hoping that striker Eduardo will continue in his recent rich vein of form as he netted in the quarter-final win over Sedan and then in the semi-final success over Toulouse.
  
The 28-year-old Brazilian will also be looking to make it third time lucky in Cup showdowns having lost two trophy matches during a spell with Grasshoppers in Switzerland in 2002 and 2004.
  
"We'll be the outsiders - we're up against a good first division outfit but we'll be out to pull off an upset," vowed Eduardo, who says he will rise to the occasion and not be overawed by an 80,000 crowd at Stade de france.
  
"I sometimes played in front of around 65,000 in Brazil when I was with Flamengo and I thrive on the atmosphere," he insisted.
  
If Rennes do lift the trophy they will go level with Breton neighbours Nantes on three successes, though well adrift of Marseille, who have ten wins to their credit.
  
Lorient, who also hail from the western maritime region, have one win to their name which Guingamp now hope to emulate.
  
The underdogs, not yet mathematically safe from relegation to the third division, are also battling to hold on to coach Victor Zvunka, who has not yet signed a new deal beyond June.
 

Date created : 2009-05-09

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