MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 12:45:16| >> :600:5669240:5669240:
Feb 6, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade Felix Bollaert
LensLens
0-0
RennesRennes

Doucoure (47'), Cahuzac (90+4')
FT

Traore (21'), Camavinga (90+3'), Martin (90+4'), Maouassa (90+5')

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

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

Two teams separated by just two points in the congested top half of the Ligue 1 table lock horns at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Saturday evening as seventh-placed Lens play host to fifth-placed Rennes.

Both clubs walked away from their midweek encounters with a point, as Lens salvaged a draw against Marseille while Rennes were held by Lorient.


Match preview

Lens head coach Franck Haise pictured in October 2020© Reuters

With inconceivable events off the pitch bedevilling Marseille ahead of their visit to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens could have been forgiven for feeling confident about their chances of a second victory over the troubled Olympiens in a matter of weeks.

However, Franck Haise's men had an opening 45 minutes to forget as Florian Thauvin and Arkadiusz Milik put Marseille 2-0 up just before half time, but the fighting spirit that has embodied Lens all season shone through in the second period as Florian Sotoca and Facundo Medina ensured that the hosts took a share of the points.

A newly-promoted side holding one of the giants of the French game to a draw is certainly something to be celebrated, and with none of the sides around them managing to take maximum points from their midweek fixtures, Lens' European dream could still become a reality.

The seventh-placed Sang et Or are some way off the title-chasing quartet, but only two points separate them from Rennes - whom they would overtake with a rare victory on their own turf - and they will be praying for Saint-Etienne to pull off an improbable win against Metz a day later.

Even though Lens boast the fourth-best away record in the division, their home form is woeful by comparison, as they have won just one of their last nine league games at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis - potentially a bad omen before facing a Rennes side who know how to produce the goods on the road.

Rennes manager Julien Stephan pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Lorient are somehow performing better after a coronavirus outbreak than they did beforehand, and Rennes quickly found out why the relegation-threatened Merlus had beaten Paris Saint-Germain before their trip to the Roazhon Park.

Martin Terrier gave the hosts the lead on the night, but Julien Stephan's men could not breach their opponents' defence again and Lorient rescued a point through Quentin Boisgard, who came off the bench to hammer home in the 83rd minute.

A title dream seems too far-fetched for Rennes now, especially considering that they have won just one of their last five in the league and fourth-placed Monaco are eight points clear - albeit having played a game more - so Stephan's men must simply focus on their European fortunes with the chasing pack closing in fast.

However, Les Rouge et Noir are unbeaten in their last five away games in the top flight - winning three and drawing two - and they have shipped just two goals on unfamiliar territory in that time.

The visitors will welcome fixtures with out-of-form sides Montpellier HSC, Nice and Saint-Etienne later this month, but for now, Rennes will be out for blood after losing 2-0 to Lens earlier in the campaign.

Lens Ligue 1 form: LDWLWD

Rennes Ligue 1 form: WDDWLD


Team News

Rennes' Clement Grenier celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Lens lost five-goal striker Ignatius Ganago to a muscular problem before the visit of Marseille, and his involvement in this game is also uncertain.

The hosts have a fully-fit squad otherwise, and 19-year-old Arnaud Kalimuendo - on loan from Paris Saint-Germain - will be hopeful of earning more opportunities in Ganago's absence.

Loic Bade has fully recovered from an ankle sprain and will look to return to the defence in place of Clement Michelin, who was hauled off at half time against Marseille.

Rennes right-back Hamari Traore lasted 24 minutes against Lorient before having to come off with a calf problem, so Brandon Soppy is expected to deputise in the rearguard this weekend.

Alfred Gomis has finally managed to earn his number one jersey back off of Romain Salin, but he will certainly be feeling that he could have done more to stop Boisgard's equaliser from finding its way in on Wednesday.

Serhou Guirassy is back in action after a lengthy layoff, but Martin Terrier's spot up top should be safe for now.

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Medina, Fortes, Bade; Clauss, Fofana, Doucoure, Haidara; Kakuta; Sotoca, Kalimuendo

Rennes possible starting lineup:
Gomis; Soppy, Aguerd, Da Silva, Maouassa; Doku, Camavinga, Nzonzi, Bourigeaud; Grenier; Terrier


SM words green background

We say: Lens 1-2 Rennes

This is an extremely difficult game to call between a Lens side who flatter to deceive at home, and a Rennes side who have proven solid on the road as of late. Neither team got the result they desired in midweek and cannot afford to take their foot off the gas as the race for a top-five finish gathers pace, but we are backing Rennes to come out on top and extend Lens' miserable run at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.


Top betting 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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Marseille's Nemanja Radonjic celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 23, 2021
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ChinaChina136928
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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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