Two mid-table Ligue 1 teams meet in the Coupe de France round of 16 on Friday evening as Nantes welcome Brest to the Stade de la Beaujoire.
The hosts comfortably progressed past a lower-league side in the previous round, whilst the visitors face their second top-tier opponent in a row.
Nantes earned their first league win of 2022 last weekend as they edged a dramatic six-goal thriller at home to Lorient.
Goals from Andrei Girotto, Randal Kolo Muani, Osman Bukari and Willem Geubbels saw Les Canaris run out 4-2 winners in a Breton derby that burst into life in the second half, as they sent their neighbours down into the relegation zone.
Things were somewhat calmer in the previous round of the cup as Antoine Kombouare’s men predictably saw off fourth-tier AS Vitre 2-0 with Geubbels on the scoresheet again, securing the result after Ludovic Blas had opened the scoring.
That result came after having nearly fallen at the third-round stage for the second consecutive year, though, Nantes requiring penalties to progress past Ligue 2’s Sochaux.
Now a top-tier side will really test their mettle as they aim to win the Coupe de France for the first time since the turn of the century.
However, it is a top-tier side who they have beaten in their previous four meetings.
Brest have already lost 3-1 to Nantes this season, back in September, to add to the 4-1 and 3-1 defeats they suffered last campaign and yet another 3-1 during a summer friendly.
So, the signs do not look overly good for Michel Der Zakarian and his side, but they did also pick up their first league win of the year at the weekend.
An own goal at the very start of the match and a penalty at the very end was enough to secure a 2-0 victory over stuttering champions Lille and solidify their place in mid-table, with a four-point gap now back to Reims in 14th.
Les Pirates also dealt with far tougher opposition in the previous round of the cup, two penalties and a stoppage-time goal from Jeremy Le Douaron sealing a 3-0 win over Bordeaux and sealing a spot in the final 16 for the first time since 2015.
Nantes Coupe de France form:
Nantes form (all competitions):
Brest Coupe de France form:
Brest form (all competitions):
We say: Nantes 2-1 Brest
Both sides have the momentum of a win at the weekend to work with, but Nantes have home advantage and an impressive recent record against Les Pirates. Therefore, we are backing them to secure a spot in the quarter-finals, albeit by a narrow margin.