Round of 64
For the second season of Christian Gourcuff’s second reign, Stade Rennais made targeted, albeit expensive signings, paying a total of 24 Million Euros for the arrivals of Faitout Maouassa and Ismaïla Sarr. Only Benoït Costil’s departure was regretted. In the end, it turned out to the be the less-heralded recruits, such as Koubek, Bourigeaud or Khazri (loaned), who were to carry the team throughout the season. With just 6 points on the board after 9 matches, the fate of the duo Ruello/Gourcuff was sealed on the evening of a defeat at the Roudourou Stadium in Guingamp. Even if the team went on to put together four straight wins, Olivier Létang (President) and Sabri Lamouchi (1st Team Manager) took control in November 2017. After a first victory in the derby against Nantes, Sabri Lamouchi managed to provide a pragmatic approach for his team, which became particularly effective in all areas of the team, this in spite of having a very young side, where Gnagnon, Gélin and Léa-Siliki were enjoying themselves. Without ever truly dominating opponents, Stade Rennais became incredibly consistent, with just one defeat in the last 14 matches of the season. A performance which was punctuated by numerous exploits at grounds which were traditionally never happy hunting grounds, such as Lille, Bordeaux and Lyon, and even the Parc de Princes in Paris for a match which secured them a deserved 5th place in Ligue 1, and - by definition - European qualification. Having already been knocked out at the first hurdle by Paris Saint Germain in the French Cup, Stade Rennais then suffered the same fate in a much tighter Semi-Final of the League Cup.