MX23RW : Wednesday, January 20 14:07:37| >> :600:329645:329645:
Dec 3, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Stade Pierre-Mauroy
LilleLille
2-1
Sparta PragueSparta Prague
Yilmaz (80', 84')
Bradaric (50'), Andre (57'), Botman (89')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Krejci (71')
Dockal (51'), Krejci (55'), Celustka (62'), Krejci (86')
Celustka (65')

Preview: Lille vs. Sparta Prague - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Lille and Sparta Prague, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Lille will be aiming to confirm qualification for the Europa League knockout stages when they welcome Sparta Prague to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy for Thursday's showdown.

The French outfit are one point clear of AC Milan at the top of Group H, whereas Sparta are looking to keep their own European ambitions alive as they sit one point behind Milan in third.


Match preview

Lille head coach Christophe Galtier pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

After an inspired performance from Arsenal-linked Yusuf Yazici saw Lille take all three points at San Siro, Les Dogues' second meeting with Milan last week was a much more low-key affair by comparison.

Samu Castillejo struck first for the in-form Rossoneri, but Jonathan Bamba ensured that Lille's unbeaten start to the 2020-21 Europa League was preserved as both teams walked away with a point apiece on matchday four.

Christophe Galtier's men cannot afford to head into their clash with Sparta thinking that they have already secured a spot in the next round, though, as Milan will certainly be expected to triumph against basement side Celtic on Thursday evening.

However, with 10 goals scored and zero defeats to their name in Group H, a spot in the round of 32 will be guaranteed for Lille should they take the spoils against Sparta, whom they thrashed 4-1 in October courtesy of another Yazici hat-trick.

Les Dogues' preparations for this European showdown were far from ideal, however, as Saint-Etienne ended a seven-game losing run by holding Galtier's side to a 1-1 draw at the weekend, with Lille now boasting just two wins from their last eight in all competitions.

Sparta Prague head coach Vaclav Kotal pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Sparta will be equally desperate to come up trumps in their visit to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with the Czech giants still in with a chance of pipping Lille or Milan to one of the top two spots in the group.

Vaclav Kotal's men suffered two crushing defeats to the French and Italian powerhouses early on, but Sparta have since recorded a pair of 4-1 victories over an out-of-sorts Celtic side to put themselves in contention for a knockout berth.

A shock victory on French turf would see Sparta leapfrog Lille before the final matchday in the group, and even a draw would keep their chances of a spot in the next round alive, but the Czech giants will be eliminated if they suffer defeat and Milan prevail against Celtic.

Kotal's men will be heading into this fixture with a renewed sense of optimism after they picked up a vital victory over Teplice in the Fortuna Liga, with Lukas Julis notching up his 11th goal of the season in a 1-0 win, but Sparta must also keep this weekend's derby with Slavia Prague in mind.

Lille Europa League form: WDWD
Lille form (all competitions): DWLWDD

Sparta Prague Europa League form: LLWW
Sparta Prague form (all competitions): LWLLWW


Team News

Lyon's Bruno Guimaraes in action with Lille's Renato Sanches in Ligue 1 on March 8, 2020© Reuters

Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches is still trying to shake off a muscular problem and is unlikely to come back in time for the visit of Sparta, but Galtier could make a change in the engine room anyways as Xeka is in line to replace Boubakary Soumare.

Lille's two recognised right-backs in Zeki Celik and Jeremy Pied also occupy spots in the medical room, so Tiago Djalo should deputise on that side once again.

Six-goal Yazici is sure to come back into the starting lineup for Thursday's game, while Bamba and Jonathan David should also return to Galtier's first XI after only making the bench against Saint-Etienne.

Sparta defender Ondrej Celustka returned from injury to complete the full 90 minutes against Teplice, but the 31-year-old may make way for David Lischka here, with David Hancko's involvement uncertain.

Michal Sacek continues to recuperate following a muscle injury while Lukas Stetina and Adam Hlozek are long-term absentees for the visitors.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Djalo, Botman, Fonte, Reinildo; Ikone, Andre, Xeka, Bamba; David, Yazici

Sparta Prague possible starting lineup:
Nita; Lischka, Plechaty, Hancko; Vindheim, Krejci, Dockal, Travnik, Hanousek; Julis, Plavsic


SM words green background

We say: Lille 2-1 Sparta Prague

Lille's results have been somewhat underwhelming in the past few weeks, but Galtier can afford to breathe easy should Les Dogues safely secure their passage into the next stage this week. The hosts have already trounced Sparta on their own turf and will welcome some big hitters back to their starting lineup, so we expect Lille to book their place in the round of 32 with a narrow win here.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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 2.5:data


ID:424550:cQx

How you voted: Lille vs Sparta Prague

Lille
72.9%
Draw
16.2%
Sparta Prague
10.8%
351
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Celtic manager Neil Lennon pictured on November 5, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Paris Saint-GermainPSG20133444113342
2Lille20126235152042
3Lyon20117239192040
4MonacoMonaco20113639291036
5Rennes2010643022836
6Marseille189542618832
7Angers209382531-630
8Bordeaux208572321229
9Metz207762118328
10Lens198472929028
11Montpellier HSCMontpellier208483335-228
12Brest2082103136-526
13StrasbourgStrasbourg2072112932-323
14Nice196582228-623
15Reims205692831-321
16Saint-EtienneSt Etienne204792030-1019
17NantesNantes203982032-1218
18Nimes2043131641-2515
19Dijon192891226-1414
20Lorient1933132038-1812

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