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Sep 22, 2021 at 6pm UK
David (31'), Andre (43')
Botman (73'), Yazici (90+1')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Flips (74' pen.)
Gravillon (90+1')

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

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

Lille welcome Reims to the Stade Pierre Mauroy on Wednesday evening during a midweek round of Ligue 1 fixtures.

The hosts may be the reigning champions, but they find themselves below their opponents in the table and just one point above the relegation zone after six matches.

Match preview

Things just keep getting worse for Lille in their attempt to defend their title.

Last season's champions' erratic performance as they snatched two late goals to scrape a draw against 10-man Metz on the opening day proved to be a sign of things to come.

They followed that result with an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to a Nice side managed by the man who guided Les Dogues to the title last year - Christophe Galtier.

Things briefly looked to be improving - with a first win of the season coming at the fourth attempt, at home to Montpellier - but Jocelyn Gourvennec's side have now lost two consecutive Ligue 1 games and find themselves down in 15th.

Lens got the better of their rivals in the northern derby at the weekend, with a 74th-minute strike from Przemyslaw Frankowski proving to be enough to secure three points for the hosts.

Gourvennec was considered an underwhelming appointment by some of the Lille fanbase - the 49-year-old having been out of work since parting ways with Guingamp in May 2019 as they suffered relegation - and they are increasingly being proven right, as the team appear a shadow of the side that won the title last year.

Whilst Lille could really do with a win on Wednesday to help them build some momentum, their opponents have proven to be very tough to beat so far this season.

Reims have made a steady start and, though they have only picked up one victory, they have also lost just once, which came in an understandable 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

Les Rouges et Blancs earned yet another draw - their fourth in six Ligue 1 games - on Sunday, as they played out a 0-0 stalemate at home to Lorient, with goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic to thank for the result after a clutch of important saves.

That means Reims have now failed to secure a win in their last 12 home games in the league, however, following on from their underwhelming home form last term as they won just four of their 19 fixtures on their own turf.

Oscar Garcia will need to try and improve upon that if his side are to make a push for the European places this season, but - for this week at least - they can focus on further improving their away record as they take on the wounded champions.

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

Lille form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

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

Team News

Lille will be without Xeka, who is suspended for one game after an accumulation of yellow cards, as well as Jonathan Bamba and Renato Sanches, who are sidelined with thigh and knee issues respectively.

Amadou Onana will be the likely replacement for Xeka in the middle of the park.

Timothy Weah and Domagoj Bradaric were fit to return to the bench for the match against Lens, with the former coming on for the final half an hour.

Reims have a far more extensive injury list. Mathieu Cafaro, El Bilal Toure, Moussa Doumbia and Fraser Hornby are all out until the end of the month, with a variety of issues, and Arber Zeneli will be absent for most of the season with an ACL injury.

Garcia will have to decide between sticking with an undefeated formula and rotating his starting XI somewhat during a busy period of the season.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Grbic; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Ikone, Andre, Onana, Yazici; David, Yilmaz

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

We say: Lille 2-1 Reims

Lille have only lost one of their previous six meetings with Reims - in a game where they were reduced to 10 men - and surely they must start to deliver on the talent within the squad at some point, so we are backing the reigning champions to finally pick up a second win of the season, albeit by a narrow margin.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

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