MX23RW : Wednesday, June 23 05:34:12| >> :600:2532976:2532976:
Apr 11, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stade Felix Bollaert
LensLens
4-1
LorientLorient
Kakuta (16' pen.), Jean (39'), Kalimuendo (55'), Banza (88' pen.)
FT(HT: 2-1)
Moffi (29')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Lens and Lorient, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two newly-promoted sides who have endured contrasting seasons prepare to renew hostilities at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday when Lens play host to Lorient in Ligue 1.

The hosts managed to take a point from their battle with title-chasing Lyon last time out, whereas Lorient continued their hot streak with a 1-0 triumph over Brest.


Match preview

Lens head coach Franck Haise pictured in October 2020© Reuters

After being tipped as candidates for an immediate return to Ligue 2 at the start of the season, Lens continue to defy expectation under Franck Haise, and a stint in European football would be just reward for their performances during an inspirational campaign.

Despite suffering a shock Coupe de France exit to Red Star last month, Sang et Or have gone from strength to strength in Ligue 1 and held Lyon to a 1-1 draw in their most recent fixture, as the in-form Jonathan Clauss netted the opener - his eighth goal contribution in nine matches - before Lucas Paqueta's sublime effort rescued a point for Les Gones.

Having managed to navigate their last 10 matches in the division without defeat - the longest current run in Ligue 1 - Lens remain in the fifth and final European spot after 31 matches and are one of the favourites to book a spot in continental competition, although they could drop out of the top five if Marseille get the better of Montpellier HSC on Saturday.

Furthermore, while Lens are unbeaten in five on home soil, four of those games ended in draws - with their solitary victory in that run coming against whipping boys Dijon in a narrow 2-1 win - and Haise has also witnessed his side keep just one clean sheet in their last 12 at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Lens' mediocre home tally is sure to be a point of concern for Haise approaching the final few weeks of the season, especially seeing as they are yet to face Lille or Monaco at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, and a recent coronavirus outbreak is sure to hamper their chances of securing another positive result against their old foes Lorient.

Lorient manager Christophe Pelissier pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Lorient had to deal with a major COVID-19 cluster of their own during the winter period, and incredibly, Les Merlus' viral outbreak sparked a revival when they made their long-awaited return to Ligue 1 action.

Christophe Pelissier's side are still embroiled in a relegation dogfight, but they have now strung together a five-game unbeaten run in the top flight and claimed a priceless three points against Brest last time out, as Laurent Abergel's effort on the stroke of half time was enough for a 1-0 triumph.

Les Merlus have lost just two of their last 12 games in Ligue 1 and are out of the danger zone for now - although 18th-placed Nimes are only three points adrift of Pelissier's men - and despite their remarkable turnaround in fortunes, all five of Lorient's victories since the end of January have come on home soil.

With only one win on the road all season - fewer than basement side Dijon (2) - Lorient's away day nightmares continue to undo all of their hard work on their own patch, although four of their last five games on unfamiliar territory have ended in draws, and they would certainly accept such a result at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

A five-goal thriller in September ultimately saw Lens come out on the correct end of the scoreline against Lorient in a 3-2 win, and five of the seven Ligue 1 meetings between the two sides at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis have ended with the spoils shared in a 1-1 stalemate.

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

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

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

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



Team News

Lens celebrate scoring against Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 on September 10, 2020© Reuters

Lens did not reveal the identity of the five players who have contracted coronavirus, but reports have named Facundo Medina, Seko Fofana, Loic Bade, Ignatius Ganago and Tony Mauricio as the COVID-positive quintet, while Florian Sotoca has also been ruled out with a calf problem.

Mauricio was never expected to make an appearance from the first whistle here, but Bade's spot in defence should be covered by Massadio Haidara, while Arnaud Kalimuendo and Simon Banza could earn starts top in Sotoca and Ganago's absence.

The loss of midfield lynchpin Fofana is a huge blow to Lens, but Haise may simply opt to switch from a 3-5-2 to his customary 3-4-1-2 this week, allowing Gael Kakuta to return to his number 10 role as Yannick Cahuzac and Cheick Doucoure man the engine room.

Lorient's medical room is slowly emptying at a crucial time for Pelissier, who should be able to welcome experienced defender Jeremy Morel back to the fold after he managed to overcome a hip problem.

Pierre-Yves Hamel has emerged as a minor doubt with ankle discomfort, but he is expected to be fit enough for a spot on the bench as Terem Moffi aims to end his seven-game goal drought this weekend.

Enzo Le Fee is pushing for a recall to the middle of the park, and goalkeeper Paul Nardi is back from a ban, but Pelissier should keep faith in the majority of the XI who starred in their triumph over Brest last weekend.

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Fortes, Gradit, Haidara; Clauss, Cahuzac, Doucoure, Sylla; Kakuta; Banza, Kalimuendo

Lorient possible starting lineup:
Nardi; Chalobah, Gravillon, Laporte; Hergault, Abergel, Lemoine, Le Goff; Lauriente, Moffi, Wissa


SM words green background

We say: Lens 1-1 Lorient

Lens have lost some key players to their coronavirus outbreak, but they are unlikely to garner much sympathy from Lorient following their own struggles with the disease this season. Given Lens' underwhelming home record, the visitors can afford to feel confident about claiming another vital win, but Lorient's away form continues to hamper their prospects of another season in the big time, so we can envisage yet another 1-1 draw between the sides at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.



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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How you voted: Lens vs Lorient

Lens
29.4%
Draw
47.1%
Lorient
23.5%
17
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Tables
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1 382411364234183
2 38264886285882
3 38246876423478
4 382210681433876
5 381612105447760
6 3816101252401258
7 381512115554157
8 381412126062-254
9 38157165053-352
10 381211154448-447
11 381210164254-1246
12 38136194256-1445
13 38128184058-1844
14 38915144250-842
15 38119184958-942
16 38119185068-1842
17 38118195066-1641
18 38913164755-840
19 3898214071-3135
20 3849252573-4821

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