Reunions between “exes” are not always a good idea, and it will surely take a little time to take stock of those of Julien Stéphan and Stade Rennes. Nevertheless, the coach and the Breton club can at least congratulate themselves on having started their new relationship well. Sunday November 26, the Rennes team won against Reims (3-1), as part of the 13th day of Ligue 1, thus signing a first victory in the championship in almost two months.

Already on the bench of the Rouge et Noir from 2018 to 2021, Julien Stéphan offered the club a trophy awaited by an entire population by winning the 2019 Coupe de France. Following poor results, and despite a high popularity rating among supporters, the French coach chose to resign, which he regretted. “I think I made a mistake then, to be very honest. If we had to redo it ? No, I wouldn’t do the same,” he revealed in March on BeIN Sports.

After the departure “by mutual agreement” of Bruno Genesio, the management of Stade Rennais therefore offered Julien Stéphan a second chance, which he was quick to seize. And before facing Reims, fifth in Ligue 1, Julien Stéphan wanted to implement some initial changes. Exit, for example, the system with four defenders, with the profile of a rearguard with five players. The captain’s armband also changed arms, passing from that of Benjamin Bourigeaud to experienced goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Perhaps upset by this choice, the midfielder beamed on Sunday for the return of Julien Stéphan, to the applause of Roazhon Park in Rennes. It was on a corner taken by the ex-Lensois – and especially at the end of a confused action – that Amine Gouiri managed to open the scoring by hitting the empty cage (4th). Impassive and calm, his trainer appreciated the spectacle.

Benjamin Bourigeaud in all the good moves

The rest of the first period certainly pleased him much less. Ineffective offensively, as too often this season, the Rennais finally saw Rémois Oumar Diakité equalize with a header (45th, 2), while everyone was preparing to return to the locker room for half-time. We do not know at this time what Julien Stéphan’s words were during the fifteen minute break, but they had the merit of being effective: sixteen seconds after the start of the second act, Benjamin Bourigeaud managed to give back the advantage to his team, on a pass from Martin Terrier.

Still convalescent and often in difficulty on Sunday, like the acrobatic return attempted by Oumar Diakité (63rd) – recalling the superb goal scored by Alejandro Garnacho earlier in the afternoon with Manchester United against Everton – the Rennais had the merit of widening the gap this time definitively thanks to a final goal from the head of Arthur Theate (66th) on a pass from… Benjamin Bourigeaud, definitely in all the good shots.

“We’ve been waiting for this victory for a long time. We had very little time to put the system in place, so we had to be diligent, explained the latter at the end of the match, at the microphone of Canal. I had several discussions with the new coach, he told me what he felt. It doesn’t matter if I have the armband or not, I will defend the colors of Stade Rennes in the same way. »

His successful return to the bench, Julien Stéphan will be able to work calmly and tackle a busy schedule. After a match against Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League on Thursday – a competition which is currently favoring the Bretons, at the top of Group F – the Rennais will travel to Marseille, then host Monaco.