Rennes ended a terrible run of form before last month's international period by posting back-to-back wins, solidifying their top half place.
They resume Ligue 1 action on Sunday, at improving Reims, whose six-match unbeaten streak has seen them move nine points clear of the relegation zone coming into the final stretch - and just six behind this week's visitors.
Following six successive defeats in all competitions, Rennes seemed to have stopped the wheels entirely falling off their previously competitive campaign just ahead of the break for World Cup qualifying.
Newly-appointed manager Bruno Genesio finally helped the Rouge et Noir to a narrow victory over in-form Strasbourg in his second game since taking the reins - seeing them end a nine-game winless streak in league and cup dating back to mid-January - followed by a remarkable 3-1 triumph at Metz.
Scorer of the opening goal last time out, Belgian forward Jeremy Doku was later sent off, early in the second half, though his teammates clung on bravely to all three points.
Now just four adrift of the top five after leapfrogging Metz with that win, they have halted a three-game losing run away from home and are intent on posting another success on rival territory this weekend.
Having drawn the reverse fixture against Reims in October, former Lyon boss Genesio's new side will be well aware that their opponents on Sunday are capable of stopping their late European push in its tracks.
Reims have built their recent revival upon an excellent run of away form and welcome their Breton counterparts to Stade Auguste-Delaune sitting far closer to the top half than the drop zone in which they were once embroiled.
Before the international break, they defeated Dijon at Stade Gaston Gerard - courtesy of top scorer Boulaye Dia's 13th goal of the season.
In spite of his side's improving fortunes, the Senegal striker - recently linked with AC Milan and West Ham United - had previously gone five matches without either a goal or assist, so was relieved to net what proved to be the winner early in the second period.
Formerly occupying the penultimate position in the Ligue 1 standings, Les Rouges et Blancs have now ascended to 12th, due to a greater show of resilience in 2021. Since the turn of the year, head coach David Guion's squad have lost just twice in the league.
Furthermore, Reims have dominated Rennes over the past couple of years, winning four of the clubs' last five encounters. They have, though, claimed maximum points only four times at home throughout the campaign and their last win there came as long ago as January.
Belgian wonderkid Jeremy Doku, who scored once and provided two assists in his nation's pitiless 8-0 destruction of Belarus, must serve a suspension for Rennes following his dismissal in the win over Metz.
Host Reims, meanwhile, will be without captain Yunis Abdelhamid at the heart of their defence. The Moroccan centre-back is suspended for Sunday's game after accumulating too many bookings, though Doku's Belgium colleague Thomas Foket is fit to start at right-back.
Given his team's solid pre-break form, coach David Guion is unlikely to make any further changes to his first XI, but could find a place for Valon Berisha in midfield.
Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Foket, Faes, Maresic, Konan; Cassama; Mbuku, Munetsi, Berisha, Cafaro; Dia
Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Traore, Da Silva, Aguerd, Truffert; Camavinga, Nzonzi, Tait; Bourigeaud, Guirassy, Terrier
We say: Reims 1-2 Rennes
With Rennes in the ascendancy of late and their hosts finding life tougher on home turf, Bruno Genesio's men can seal a third straight win to keep themselves in the hunt for a Europa League spot - ending a fine unbeaten run by Reims.
Though Boulaye Dia poses a real threat for the home side, Rennes can pick up their first win in this fixture for several years due to their greater individual quality and growing confidence.
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