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Nov 21, 2021 at 12pm UK
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Preview: Brest vs. Lens - prediction, team news, lineups

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

High-flying Lens will be hoping that they can consolidate their place in the top four of Ligue 1 with a victory away against Brest on Sunday.

The hosts have only won four of their 17 home league matches in 2021, while the visitors are looking to avoid a third successive away defeat.

Match preview

After failing to win any of their opening 11 Ligue 1 matches, Brest have since claimed successive league victories, which has helped them to climb out of the relegation zone.

An impressive 2-0 triumph at home against Monaco was followed by a 2-1 win in the Breton derby away against Lorient last time out, with second-half strikes from Romain Faivre and Steve Mounie turning the game on its head to secure all three points.

The Pirates, who finished 17th last season, are currently sitting in the same position after 12 Ligue 1 games, hovering above the relegation playoff position by goal difference.

Michel Der Zakarian has seen plenty of improvements made by his side in recent weeks, who head into Sunday's game unbeaten in their last four matches.

Surprisingly, Brest are one of only five teams in Europe's top five leagues – along with AC Milan, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Liverpool – to have scored in every league game this season. The Pirates have also scored in each of their last eight meetings against Lens, though they have only won on three occasions during this period.

A victory for Brest on Sunday would see them claim back-to-back home wins in the top flight for the first time since November and December 2020.

Since securing promotion from the second tier in 2019-20, Lens have gone from strength to strength in the top flight, with seven wins and three draws from 12 matches this campaign, helping them to climb up to second in the table.

Pre-season hopes of potentially improving on last year's seventh-placed finish were seemingly a tall order this time around, however Franck Haise's men continue to impress and are currently occupying a Champions League place.

Prior to the international break, Lens were struggling for consistency, alternating between victory and defeat in each of their last five league matches. Haise will now be hoping that his side can build on their most recent 4-0 victory at home against Troyes with another success against a team in the bottom half of the table.

Lens have, however, lost their last two away games in Ligue 1 – against Montpellier and Lyon – and have also failed to win each of their last three encounters at the Stade Francis-Le Ble, so Sunday's clash could be challenging for the Pirates.

Haise's men may not have the ability to challenge runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain for the title, but a victory this weekend would at least consolidate their place in the top four for now.

Brest Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W

Lens Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Brest will still be without defender Denys Bain, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury, while backup goalkeeper Sebastien Cibois remains on the sidelines with an Achilles problem.

Finnish left-back Jere Uronen, who played against France in a World Cup qualifier earlier this week, is set to start in defence along with Ronael Pierre-Gabriel, Brendan Chardonnet and Lilian Brassier.

Attacking midfielders Fairve and Franck Honorat, who have scored four league goals each this term, will likely support lone striker Mounie up front.

As for Lens, Florian Sotoca will serve a one-match suspension, following an accumulation of yellow cards, while Wesley Said (muscle) and Deiver Machado (knee) are ruled out due to injury.

Ignatius Ganago is expected to replace Said in the first XI, joining Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga up front, with Gael Kakuta to operate in the number 10 role just behind.

Brest possible starting lineup:
Bizot; Pierre-Gabriel, Chardonnet, Brassier, Uronen; Magnetti, Belkebla; Faivre, Cardona, Honorat; Mounie

Lens possible starting lineup:
Farinez; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Clauss, Doucoure, Fofana, Frankowski; Kakuta; Kalimuendo-Muinga, Ganago

We say: Brest 1-2 Lens

Lens claimed four points from a possible six in the two fixtures against Brest last season and they will be confident of securing another three on Sunday.

Brest themselves will have a spring in their step after two successive victories, though we expect the visitors to come away from the Stade Francis-Le Ble with a slender win.

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