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Feb 13, 2021 at 6pm UK
ReimsReims
1-1
LensLens
Zeneli (13')
Konan (43'), Faes (49')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Sotoca (61')

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

:Headline: Preview: Reims vs. Lens - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:434648: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Reims and Lens, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Reims will be desperate to recover from their dampening Coupe de France exit to Ligue 2 side Valenciennes when they welcome Lens to the Stade Auguste-Delaune for Saturday's top-flight match.

In contrast, the European-chasing visitors head into this game on the back of a 4-2 success against fellow Ligue 1 outfit Nantes in their midweek cup game.


Match preview

Not even a late brace from the prolific Boulaye Dia could save Reims' bacon against Valenciennes in the Coupe de France, as the second-tier side put four past David Guion's much-changed team to dump them out of the cup at the first hurdle on Tuesday evening.

Reims have shown plenty of promise since the festive period, but that 4-3 defeat to Valenciennes was preceded by another disappointing loss in the league to Lorient, and Guion will be praying that this is not the beginning of another worrying slump as the season approaches its business end.

However, Les Rouges et Blancs should not be in any real danger of being dragged into a relegation dogfight as they sit nine points above the bottom three, but it would only take a few more underwhelming results for the faint whispers of demotion to be heard again.

Despite being put to the sword by Valenciennes on their own turf, Reims are enjoying a respectable six-game unbeaten run in the league at the Stade Auguste-Delaune - winning three of them and keeping clean sheets in the other three goalless stalemates - although the 10 goals they boast on home soil is the second lowest in the division behind Dijon.

However, Reims notoriously struggle against newly-promoted sides with only two wins from their last 22 against them, and Lens certainly do not have the look of a team who were plying their trade in the second division only 12 months ago.

Franck Haise has overseen a truly magnificent season with Sang et Or in the 2020-21 campaign, and the newly-promoted side's European dream could very well become a reality if their efforts continue to bear fruit.

The Lens manager opted for a strong lineup to take on Nantes in the Coupe de France and it paid dividends, with Sang et Or marching to a 4-2 victory courtesy of goals from Arnaud Kalimuendo, Cheick Doucoure and Corentin Jean's first two goals of the season.

Haise's men had managed to take a share of the spoils from clashes with Marseille and Rennes before that thrilling Coupe de France triumph, and only one of their last seven matches in all competitions has ended in defeat - a 1-0 loss to Nice on January 23 - while a win on Saturday would also be their fourth in a row away from home.

With fifth-placed Rennes beginning to falter, sixth-placed Lens could potentially usurp their European rivals - who do have a game in hand - into the final European spot should they beat Reims and Rennes suffer an unexpected defeat to Saint-Etienne a day later.

While Lens will be brimming with confidence heading into this game, Reims have won 20 of their 24 home league matches against Sang et Or - their best record against any club in the top flight this season - and Saturday's game has a lot to live up to following a 4-4 draw in the reverse fixture.

Reims Ligue 1 form: WLWWDL
Reims form (all competitions): LWWDLL

Lens Ligue 1 form: DWLWDD
Lens form (all competitions): WLWDDW


Team News

Reims centre-back Wout Faes sat out the loss to Valenciennes through suspension, but he will be welcomed back to the team with open arms for this game and is set to replace Dario Maresic in Guion's backline.

The return of Faes from his one-match ban means that the hosts have no concerns whatsoever for this showdown, and changes from the cup will see Predrag Rajkovic return in goal for Yehvann Diouf, while Xavier Chavalerin, Moreto Cassama and Mathieu Cafaro should all come back into the engine room.

Dia's late brace in the Coupe de France defeat took him up to 14 for the season across all competitions, but he has now dropped to third in the Ligue 1 top scorer charts behind Kylian Mbappe (16) and Memphis Depay (13) after failing to score in his last five top-flight matches.

Lens will welcome a player in their own ranks back from suspension in the form of Massadio Haidara, who could occupy the left flank if Issiaga Sylla is granted a rest.

Simon Banza is also returning from a ban and will compete with Kalimuendo for a spot up top alongside Florian Sotoca, with fellow forward Ignatius Ganago the visitors' only injury concern at the moment.

Gael Kakuta will aim to make the net ripple for the 10th time this season as he reprises his regular number 10 role this weekend, while Seko Fofana, Facundo Medina and Clement Michelin are all in line for returns after being benched for the cup victory at Nantes.

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Foket, Faes, Abdelhamid, Konan; Cassama; Cafaro, Berisha, Chavalerin, Zeneli; Dia

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Medina, Gradit, Bade; Michelin, Fofana, Doucoure, Haidara; Kakuta; Sotoca, Kalimuendo


We say: Reims 1-2 Lens

Both of these teams know where the back of the net is, and while this game is unlikely to be as enthralling as November's eight-goal draw, it should be a fascinating spectacle nonetheless. However, Lens have consistently proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with on their travels, and we expect Haise's men to keep their European aspirations alive with a slender win this weekend.


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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last updated article - 2021-02-11 18:31:19:
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