Round of 32
At the end of a terrible season, with two different managers (Bergeroo and Halilhodzic) and avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth, there was a major wind of change at Stade Rennais in 2003. Bölöni took over the reins, and had a clear-out. Out went the likes of Fleuquin, Ivanov and Loeschbor, and in came the old hands, Barbosa, Ouaddou and Vairelles. The beginning of the season was relatively low-key, in spite of a promising return of 3 goals in 6 matches from N’Guéma. Lucas was placed in the role of playmaker, and his inconsistent performances in the first half of the season were a reflection of the team’s performance (12th with 23 points at the halfway stage), albeit they enjoyed a memorable 3-1 win at Lyon on the way. During the winter break, Lucas departed for Japan, and Källström arrived in his place. The Swede transformed Rennes’ game, the Bretons scoring four goals in a game on five separate occasions before the end of the season, notably in memorable matches against Marseille (4-3), UEFA finalist, or Monaco (4-1), Champions League finalist. Rennes ended the season in 9th place, and had a promising future with Frei (21 goals), Källström and Monterrubio. In the meantime, Rennes had been eliminated in the Quarter Finals of the French Cup by Nantes (2-3).