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Oct 25, 2020 at 2pm UK
MontpellierMontpellier HSC

Oyongo (54')
Hilton (6'), Le Tallec (41')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Dia (8' pen., 12', 55' pen.), Mbuku (30')

Preview: Montpellier HSC vs. Reims - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Montpellier HSC vs. Reims - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Montpellier HSC and Reims, including team news and predicted lineups.
Sports Mole

Montpellier HSC will be looking to avoid a fourth-straight game without a win in Ligue 1 when they welcome a lowly Reims to the Stade de la Mosson on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts recorded a 1-1 draw with Monaco in gameweek seven, whereas Reims' dismal spell of form continued with a 3-1 loss to fellow strugglers Lorient last weekend.

Match preview

Montpellier's showdown with Monaco was thrust into the realms of uncertainty following the news that 12 coronavirus cases had been reported in the Paillade camp, including eight first-team players.

However, further tests revealed that only one player - Pedro Mendes - was found to be carrying the virus, and Montpellier were able to field a near full-strength lineup for their clash with Monaco amid initial fears of a decimated defence and a makeshift XI.

Michel Der Zakarian was the other member of the Paillade party to return a positive test and was not on the touchline for Montpellier's showdown with Les Monegasques, as the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate despite an early red card for Montpellier's Teji Savanier.

Second-half goals from Stephy Mavididi and Wissam Ben Yedder saw both European hopefuls walk away with a point apiece last Sunday, and Montpellier can now boast 13 goals in seven matches of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign - a tally only bettered by top three sides Lille, Paris Saint-Germain and Rennes.

However, La Paillade have struggled against bottom-half teams as of late - drawing with basement side Dijon and losing at home to Nimes - but Der Zakarian's men will feel confident of returning to winning ways against a Reims outfit still awaiting their first victory of the campaign.

Fresh from a hard-fought draw against early high-flyers Rennes, the Reims faithful would have been forgiven for feeling cautiously optimistic for their side's home fixture with a mediocre Lorient outfit.

However, the former Europa League hopefuls suffered yet another disheartening defeat as Lorient ran out 3-1 winners on the day, with David Guion's men succumbing to second-half goals from Pierre-Yves Hamel, Yoane Wissa and Terem Moffi on their own turf.

Anastasios Donis and Moreto Cassama were both sent off in what was a truly miserable night for Reims, who are one of only two top-flight sides yet to register a win in the 2020-21 season - the other being Dijon.

Having already been knocked out of the Europa League, Guion will now be solely focused on turning his side's fortunes around in the domestic campaign, and Reims will endeavour to win just their second away league match of 2020 when they travel to the Stade de la Mosson this weekend.

However, Reims will have fond memories of their two meetings with Montpellier last season - where Les Rouge et Blancs recorded back-to-back 1-0 triumphs in the league and Coupe de la Ligue.

Montpellier HSC Ligue 1 form: WWWDLD

Reims Ligue 1 form: LLLLDL
Reims form (all competitions): WLLLDL

Team News

As well as potentially welcoming Der Zakarian back to the dugout from a quarantine period, Mendes could also come back into the Montpellier defence after missing out the draw with Monaco.

However, Savanier will serve the first of a two-match suspension owing to his red card against Les Monegasques, with Jordan Ferri expected to fill the void in midfield.

Further changes are unlikely for the hosts, with Mavididi's first goal for the club probably not enough to see him displace Gaetan Laborde or Andy Delort up top.

Reims have suspensions of their own to contend with following Cassama's and Donis's red cards in the loss to Lorient, with the returning Marshall Munetsi all-but guaranteed to replace Cassama in midfield.

Kosovo internationals Valon Berisha and Arber Zeneli are both expected to sit this one out owing to ankle and hamstring injuries respectively, while Dereck Kutesa lasted 35 minutes against Lorient before being forced off.

El Bilal Toure missed out last weekend's defeat amid coronavirus concerns and is doubtful for this one as well, with Boulaye Dia in line to replace Kaj Sierhuis up top.

Montpellier HSC possible starting lineup:
Omlin; Mendes, Congre, Hilton; Souquet, Ferri, Chotard, Oyongo; Mollet; Laborde, Delort

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Foket, Faes, Abdelhamid, Smet; Munetsi, Chavalerin, Cafaro; Mbuku, Dia, Doumbia

We say: Montpellier HSC 2-0 Reims

Reims have a plethora of absentees to contend with for their trip to a Montpellier side who are determined to put an end to their winless run. The visitors must get their season up and running as quickly as possible, but we cannot see that happening here and are backing Montpellier to march to a comfortable victory.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away 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/Away:data

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