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Aug 7, 2022 at 2pm UK at Stade Bollaert-Delelis
3 - 2
Sotoca (27', 62', 65')
Costa (38'), Danso (78')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Belkebla (66'), Del Castillo (82' pen.)
Lees-Melou (31'), Belaili (43'), Brassier (62'), Chardonnet (71')

Preview: Lens vs. Brest - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Lens vs. Brest - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Lens and Brest, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

As Ligue 1 resumes for its 2022-23 campaign, the opening round sees Lens welcome Brest to Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday.

While the hosts have traditionally struggled on the first day of a new season, losing five of their last six in the top flight, their Breton visitors' record is even worse - no wins in nine.

Match preview

Kicking off a season in which several clubs have realistic aspirations of finishing in the top six, with Paris Saint-Germain poised to sprint off into the distance, Lens are seeking to improve on last term's seventh spot.

Les Sang et Or narrowly missed out on qualifying for European football in the spring, and have been busy preparing for the upcoming challenge with some high-profile friendly games.

After posting three wins from four against more modest domestic rivals, Lens claimed a memorable 1-0 victory over Inter Milan at the end of last month, before holding West Ham United to a goalless draw; building optimism around a squad overseen by Franck Haise.

The former B-team boss, who was promoted to the top job back in 2020, has reshuffled his pack over the summer break, with Jimmy Cabot arriving as a replacement for Marseille-bound Jonathan Clauss and a pair of promising strikers - Adam Buksa and Lois Openda - joining Congo goalkeeper Brice Samba at the club.

Since their return to Ligue 1 two years ago, successive seventh-placed finishes have re-established Lens among the French elite, and they have - so far - managed to hold onto midfield maestro Seko Fofana, which demonstrates their intent.

Having won four of their six pre-season fixtures, conceding only one goal in the process, Haise will now expect to claim victory in his side's first competitive fixture.

Brest, however, have other ideas about the points' destiny on Sunday afternoon, having beaten Lens both home and away last season: after a crushing 4-0 win at Stade Francis-Le Ble in November, the Breton outfit stunned their northern counterparts with a 1-0 success on away soil during the spring.

However, like Lens, Les Pirates have notoriously failed to fire on the first day of the Ligue 1 season for many years now - losing four and drawing five of their last nine such matches.

Michel Der Zakarian's men also concluded the 2021-22 campaign on a down note, by losing their last three games and conceding four goals in both of their final two outings.

Having ultimately finished 11th, far from danger but also well adrift of the European places, this term Brest may be concerned about the league's forthcoming reduction to 18 teams, which means four clubs will be relegated.

Visiting Lens this week and then hosting Marseille in their first two games means that their odds of making a quick start are particularly steep.

Lens form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Brest form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Lens start the new season without two mainstays of their recent success, as Cheick Doucoure and Jonathan Clauss have both left during the summer transfer window - but several signings are set to make league debuts on Sunday.

As goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez is still sidelined by an ACL injury, Brice Samba should start, following his switch from Nottingham Forest. Lois Openda is also a contender to play in a probable 3-4-3 formation, which will see Seko Fofana feature in central midfield.

However, another recent acquisition, Adam Buksa, arrived at Stade Bollaert-Delelis with an ankle injury and will miss out, leaving Openda to wrestle with Florian Sotoca, Ignatius Ganago and David Costa for a place in the hosts' front three.

Meanwhile, Brest have lost Inter Milan pair Lucien Agoume and Martin Satriano, both of whom returned to Italy this summer, but also made a number of purchases to compensate.

Pierre Lees-Melou, Mathias Pereira Lage and, perhaps most intriguingly, Celtic winger Karamoko Dembele are all new arrivals, and the former pair could feature this weekend.

The visitors, who won three of their four friendly matches last month, will turn to last term's top scorers Franck Honorat (11 goals) and Steve Mounie (10) to lead their attack.

Lens possible starting lineup:
Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Samed, Fofana, Haidara; Costa, Openda, Sotoca

Brest possible starting lineup:
Bizot; Duverne, Herelle, Chardonnet, Brassier; Del Castillo, Lees-Melou, Belkebla, Belaili; Cardona, Mounie

We say: Lens 2-1 Brest

Surely something must give, as both teams seek to end their dismal opening-day records, and it is most likely that Lens will do so, due to a combination of home advantage and their greater firepower up front.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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