PREVIEW: Swans v Stade Rennais
6th August 2016
The Swans face French side Stade Rennais at the Liberty today (3pm) in their final friendly fixture before the new Premier League season gets underway.
After a two-game tour of American and domestic matches against Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Francesco Guidolin's side are only a week away from the opening top-flight fixture at newly-promoted Burnley.
Spanish international Fernando Llorente could make his first appearance for the club after joining from Sevilla on Friday night.
The former Athletic Bilbao and Juventus striker, who has signed a two-year deal, will wear squad number nine in his first season at the Liberty.
And ahead of the big game, we bring you an in-depth analysis of today's opponents.
Stadium: Roazhon Park
Manager: Christian Gourcuff
Nickname: The Red and Blacks
Last season: 8th in Ligue 1
Record league victory: 10-1 v AS Beziers, 1954
Record league defeat: 1-9 v Lille OSC and FC Nancy (both 1951)
Ligue 2 champions: 1955-56, 1982-83
Coupe de France: 1964-65, 1970-71
Trophee des Champions: 1971
Who are they?
Founded in 1901, Stade Rennais are a club based in the city of Rennes, which is situated in Brittany in North West France.
One of the 20 founder members of the French first division, Stade Rennais ended last season in eighth place in Ligue 1.
Stade Rennais's best ever league finish is fourth place, a position they have claimed on four occasions - the most recent being 2006-07 - but they have won the French Cup twice (1965, 1971).
They have finished as runners-up in the cup on four more occasions, most recently when they lost the final to Guingamp in 2014.
Nicknamed the Red and Blacks, Stade Rennais are famed for producing young players. Former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord, ex-Milan creator Yoann Gourcuff - who is now back at the club - and Yann M'Vila, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, are among the many players who have come through the ranks.
The latest star name to emerge from Stade Rennais is teenage forward Ousmane Dembele, who joined Borussia Dortmund in a big-money deal over the summer after making the first-team breakthrough last season.
There are a host of other youth products currently in the first-team squad.
Stade Rennais had severe financial troubles in the 1970s and, after almost two decades of turbulence, it was the decision to rely primarily on academy players which led to some stability in the 1990s.
Retail magnate Francois Pinault bought the club in 1998, and invested heavily in facilities as well as the playing staff.
The result was success in the Noughties, when Stade Rennais regularly qualified for European football.
They have ended the last few seasons around mid-table in Ligue 1, with 6th place in 2010-11 their best finish in recent times.
Between the sticks - Benoit Costil
The 29-year-old started his career in the French top flight with Caen, but built his reputation in the second tier with Vannes and Sedan.
His performances at that level earned him a move to Stade Rennais in 2011, and he has been a regular ever since.
In all, the former France Under-21 cap has clocked up more than 200 appearances for Stade Rennais.
Costil has never played senior international football, but he was part of the French squad at Euro 2016 alongside fellow keepers Hugo Lloris, of Tottenham Hotspur, and Steve Mandanda, who has recently joined Crystal Palace.
The captain - Romain Danze
Danze is a Stade Rennais stalwart having joined their academy as a teenager back in 2001 and broken into the first team a decade ago.
He is capable of playing on either side of defence or in midfield, but is best known as a right-back.
There has been speculation this summer that Danze's long stint at Stade Rennais may be about to come to an end.
With rising star Steven Moreira pushing hard for the right-back slot, Danze has been linked with a transfer, and it could be that Pedro Mendes captains the visiting side at the Liberty this weekend.
The 25-year-old centre-back has previously played for the likes of Sporting Lisbon and Parma.
The star man - Yoann Gourcuff
Playmaker Gourcuff, the son of Stade Rennais manager Christian, was once hailed as the successor to Zinedine Zidane by the French media.
However, Gourcuff - who played with Bafetimbi Gomis at Lyon - has endured a succession of injury problems in a career which as seen him win 31 French caps.
He made his senior debut for Stade Rennais as a teenager back in 2004, then spent two years with AC Milan - where he won the Champions League - before joining Bordeaux in 2008 and starring as they won the double in his first season.
He signed for Lyon in a 22 million euro deal in 2010, but an injury-plagued stint with them ended when he returned to Stade Rennais last summer.
He managed only 12 appearances last term, but recently signed a new two-year deal.
The hitman - Paul-Georges Ntep
Cameroon-born Ntep is a winger-cum-striker who has won two caps for France, and may well have been part of the Euro 2016 squad but for a shin injury which struck him down in March.
Blessed with pace and technical quality, Ntep has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs over the last couple of seasons.
Having moved to France when he was a child, Ntep was picked up by Auxerre and made his senior debut as a teenager.
After just over three years playing for Auxerre, Ntep made the switch to Stade Rennais in January 2014, and he has since scored 16 goals in 59 Ligue 1 appearances.
The manager - Cristian Gourguff
The 61-year-old Frenchman is vastly experienced, having worked in management since the early 1980s.
Gourcuff started his playing career at Stade Rennais, going on to play for the likes of Berne, Rouen, Lorient and Le Mans.
He then kicked off his managerial career with Lorient, and has since worked for Le Mans, Pont-L'Abbe, Rennes and Al-Ittihad - and had two more stints at Lorient.
Gourcuff was in charge of the Algerian national side between 2014 and March this year, when he opted to stand down.
In May, it was announced that he would be taking charge at Stade Rennais this summer following the departure of Rolland Courbis.
Tickets are still available for this weekend's fixture with Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais.
Tickets are priced: £15 for adults; £10 concessions; £5 for 14 to 16-year-olds unaccompanied by an adult and £1 for under-16s accompanied by a paying adult (maximum of two child tickets per paying adult).
Tickets will be available to purchase on the day but supporters are advised - as the 'print at home' option is not available - to buy in advance to avoid long queues on match day.
Please note, season ticket holders cannot be guaranteed their normal seat for this fixture.
A £3 booking fee applies for online or telephone ticket purchases.
To purchase tickets, clickHERE
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