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Nov 21, 2021 at 2pm UK
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Gravillon (38'), Matusiwa (43'), Flips (67'), Abdelhamid (90+5')

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

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

Strasbourg will be looking to claim their third successive home victory when they welcome Reims to the Stade de la Meinau for their Ligue 1 clash on Sunday.

The hosts have scored 17 goals in their seven home matches this season, more than any other team in the division, while the visitors have scored 10 goals fewer from their seven away games so far this term.

Match preview

Strasbourg went into the international break after playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw away against Nantes, a game which had 36 shots on goal between the two sides.

After Randal Kolo had given the hosts a 2-1 lead in the 48th minute, striker Ludovic Ajorque was shown a straight red card just three minutes later for a mis-timed tackle when attempting to take a shot on goal. However, a 68th-minute equaliser from former Nantes midfielder Adrien Thomasson rescued a point for the visitors with 10 men.

That result may have seen Strasbourg slip down to eighth in the Ligue 1 standings, but this is a much healthier position compared to where they were last season. The Racers had lost nine of their opening 12 games and accumulated just seven points at this stage in 2020-21, compared to this term where they are 11 points and 11 places better off.

Julien Stephan's side head into Sunday's fixture after winning four of their last five home matches, scoring at least three goals in each of these four wins. All four victories were against teams current sitting in the bottom half of the table, with Reims potentially their next opponent to face plenty of goalmouth action.

With games against Monaco, Nice and Marseille in the coming weeks, the Racers will view this weekend's clash as one of their more favourable fixtures from which they will hope to claim all three points.

After finishing in eighth, fifth and 14th in each of their last three top-flight seasons, Reims are enduring a difficult campaign at the wrong end of the table this time around, boasting just two wins from their 13 matches.

Three defeats and a draw in October were followed by a goalless draw against Monaco just before the international break, meaning Oscar Garcia's men are winless in each of their last five league games.

The Red and Whites are currently hovering just above the relegation playoff position, with only goal difference separating them in 16th from Bordeaux in 18th.

Reims travel to the Stade de la Meinau after failing to win each of their last four away matches, including three defeats. However, they can be confident of success this weekend as they were able to do the double over Strasbourg last season, winning 2-1 on home soil before securing a slender 1-0 victory on the road.

Claiming three points on Sunday could see Garcia's side move up to 13th in the table, two points clear of Clermont, who they will face in a weeks' time.

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

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

Team News

Strasbourg pair Ajorque and Anthony Caci are both suspended, while Lebo Mothiba and Maxime Le Marchand are both ruled out with injuries.

While the absence of Ajorque is a blow for the hosts, they have been boosted by the return of experienced forward Kevin Gameiro, who is fit to feature in attack this weekend.

Six of Strasbourg's last seven Ligue 1 goals have been scored by either Habib Diallo (4) or Thomasson (2); both players are expected to start up front and in attacking midfield respectively.

As for Reims, Moreto Cassama (hip), Fode Doucoure (muscle), Fraser Hornby (muscle), Thomas Foket (calf), Marshall Munetsi (muscle) and Arber Zeneli (knee) are all ruled out with injuries.

Cassama is the only injured player who started the last match against Monaco, so Garcia is unlikely to make too many changes to his first XI.

Valon Berisha is set to be handed a start in centre-midfield alongside Azor Matusiwa and Mathieu Cafaro, while El Bilal Toure and Ilan Kebbal could be brought into the starting lineup to support central striker Hugo Ekitike in a three-man attack.

Strasbourg possible starting lineup:
Sels; Perrin, Nyamsi, Dijku; Guilbert, Sissoko, Prcic, Lienard; Thomasson; Diallo, Gameiro

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Gravillon, Faes, Abdelhamid, Konan; Berisha, Cafaro, Matusiwa; Kebbal, Ekitike, Toure

We say: Strasbourg 2-0 Reims

Even though Ajorque will be missing through suspension, Strasbourg still have plenty of firepower to cause problems in the final third this weekend.

The Racers have been in good form on home soil in recent weeks, while the visitors have struggled on the road during the same period, so a routine victory for the hosts is to be expected at the Stade de la Meinau.

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