Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti has labelled the home defeat to Lorient earlier in the season a ``blessing in disguise''.
A 2-1 win for Lorient in September left Antonetti's side struggling towards the foot of the embryonic Ligue 1 table, but since then Rennes have improved dramatically and now sit fourth.
Lorient, Rennes' rivals from across Brittany, are currently eighth and the two sides meet again tomorrow, with Antonetti happy with the lessons learned in the earlier fixture between the two.
``The day after the defeat I showed the game to the players and said that we were in a very uncomfortable position,'' he said.
``We were 18th with three points. But in reviewing the video, all was not lost - there was a lot of positive things. They have served us well since.
``This match was a blessing in disguise to move up the rankings. All experience is good to live with, even though it was very difficult to time.''
Lorient have only lost once at Stade du Moustoir and Antonetti knows it will be difficult for his side to avenge their home defeat this weekend.
``Lorient is a team that has a very nice style of play,'' he said. ``It is difficult to win there.''
Antonetti will be hoping new arrivals Alou Diarra and Anders Konradsen could both come straight into the squad after sealing moves late on in the January transfer window.
Lorient midfielder Yann Jouffre believes the two sides are not as far apart as they once were, but refuted claims matches between them can sometimes get overheated.
``In the history of football, Rennes was simply a bigger club than Lorient,'' he told L'Equipe.
``The club (Lorient) has evolved, is structured and we also see that it is now able to buy quite expensive players on the market - economically and sportingly, the gap is getting smaller.
``I do not think they are our nemesis. It is true that in the first match there were three red cards but there has not been more aggression than usual.''
Lorient had goalkeeper Fabien Audard and defender Maxime Baca dismissed in their 2-1 win, whilst Rennes substitute Cheick Diarra also saw red.
If Lorient can complete a double over Rennes they will leapfrog Antonetti's men in the table whilst a win for the visitors would mean they remain in fourth place.