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Oct 1, 2021 at 8pm UK
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Preview: Lens vs. Reims - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Lens will be looking to continue their impressive start to the 2021-22 Ligue 1 campaign when they welcome Reims to Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Friday night.

The home side are currently second in the table, having picked up 15 points from their opening eight matches of the season, while Reims have collected 10 points to sit down in 11th position.

Match preview

Lens finished seventh in Ligue 1 last term, which represented an impressive campaign on their return to the top level, and a positive start to this season has left them up in second position in the table.

A record of four wins, three draws and one defeat from eight matches has seen Franck Haise's side collect 15 points, and although they are nine points behind runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain, it has certainly been an impressive beginning to the 2021-22 campaign.

Lens have won three of their last four matches in France's top flight, meanwhile, including a 3-2 success at Marseille on Sunday; the home side recovered from a two-goal deficit to level the scores at the end of the first period, but the visitors secured all the points courtesy of a 71st-minute effort from Wesley Said.

The 1997-98 Ligue 1 champions will view this game as the perfect chance to put another three points on the board ahead of the international break, and they are unbeaten against Reims in the league since a Ligue 2 clash in March 2018, although three of their last four Ligue 1 meetings have finished all square.

Reims, meanwhile, have won two, drawn four and lost two of their eight league matches this season to collect 10 points, which has left them in 11th position in the table entering the next set of fixtures.

The Red and Whites, who were promoted from Ligue 2 in 2018, finished 14th in France's top flight last term, just two points clear of the relegation zone, so it could be another difficult campaign for the club in terms of securing another year of Ligue 1 action.

Reims, who won just nine of their 38 league matches last term, will enter Friday's contest off the back of a morale-boosting 3-1 home success over Nantes, with Hugo Ekitike coming off the bench to score twice in what was an encouraging performance from the 19-year-old.

Oscar Garcia's side have actually only lost one of their last four league matches, and they were involved in an eight-goal thriller in the corresponding clash with Lens last term, with the points being shared in a 4-4 draw.

Reims have also been beaten in just one of their four away league games this season, while they picked up more points on their travels (22) than at home (20) in Ligue 1 last term.

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

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

Team News

Lens will again be without the services of Corentin Jean on Friday due to a thigh problem, but Kevin Danso is available following a one-match suspension and should come back into the starting XI.

There are not expected to be any other changes from the side that featured against Marseille, though, with a 3-4-3 formation set to include David Costa and Florian Sotoca in the attacking areas.

Said came off the bench to score last time out and will certainly be in contention, but Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga is likely to get the nod from the start at the tip of the attack.

As for Reims, a lengthy injury list includes Valon Berisha, Mathieu Cafaro, El Bilal Toure, Moussa Doumbia, Fraser Hornby and Arber Zeneli.

It is unlikely that the visitors will be able to recover any of the six injured players for Friday's contest, but head coach Garcia did not see his side pick up any fresh problems against Nantes.

Ekitike's brace off the bench last time out could see the teenager earn a spot in the final third of the field, with Mitchell van Bergen potentially dropping out, but it could otherwise be the same starting XI that featured in the home success over Nantes.

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Doucoure, Fofana, Machado; Sotoca, Kalimuendo-Muinga, Costa

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Gravillon, Faes, Abdelhamid; Foket, Matusiwa, Munetsi, Konan; Ekitike, Kebbal, Koffi

We say: Lens 2-1 Reims

Lens have been excellent in the early stages of the season and will fancy their chances of picking up another positive result here. Reims are capable of making it a difficult contest for the hosts, but we are backing Haise's team to shade a close match on Friday night.

Top 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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