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Ligue 1 | Gameweek 27
Mar 29, 2024 at 8pm UK
Stade Pierre-Mauroy
Lens logo

2 - 1

Zhegrova (9', 60')
Andre (52'), Zhegrova (64'), Bentaleb (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Wahi (78')
Medina (35'), Wahi (64'), Costa (88')

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

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

Separated by just two places and one point in the Ligue 1 table, Champions League hopefuls Lille and Lens square off in Friday's Derby du Nord at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Les Dogues entered the international break on the back of a 1-1 draw away to high-flying Brest, while Franck Haise's men were outclassed 3-1 at home to Nice.

Match preview

Lille coach Paulo Fonseca reacts on March 14, 2024© Reuters

Europa Conference League fatigue may have taken a minor toll on Lille over the past few weeks, but Paulo Fonseca and co can look back fondly on their side's exploits in March, where they reached the quarter-finals of the aforementioned tournament and put their Champions League destiny in their own hands.

Either side of a 1-1 home draw with Sturm Graz - which sealed a 4-1 aggregate triumph in the Conference League last 16 - Lille also shared the spoils with Rennes and Brest in the top flight, only failing to sink the latter courtesy of a Martin Satriano equaliser.

Before attention turns to a fascinating two-legged Europa Conference League quarter-final with Aston Villa next month, Fonseca's men endeavour to make it four games unbeaten in the top flight, where they have assumed fourth position in the table courtesy of their superior goal difference over Nice.

The 2020-21 Ligue 1 champions certainly have their astonishing streak of home form to thank for their fourth-placed standing, as they have only suffered three league defeats at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy since the beginning of the 2022-23 season, including just one in the current campaign.

Since Reims left with a shock 2-1 win under their belts in September, Fonseca's men have strung together a nine-match unbeaten home run in Ligue 1 - a sequence that includes a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain and 2-0 win over Monaco - and it has been 13 months since Lille last failed to score in a Ligue 1 game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

RC Lens coach Franck Haise reacts on October 24, 2023© Reuters

While Lille are still competing for continental stardom this season, Lens' extra-time defeat to Freiburg in the Europa League playoff round extinguished Les Sang et Or's dreams of European supremacy, forcing Haise's men to focus solely on league matters for the next couple of months.

The visitors' results since exiting Europe have been the true definition of a mixed bag - two wins and two defeats in their last four Ligue 1 matches - as they firstly fell just short against Monaco before shutting out Lyon and Brest in back-to-back victories.

However, Lens' bid for three straight wins crashed and burned at home to Nice on March 16, where two Terem Moffi strikes either side of a Khephren Thuram effort ensured that Elye Wahi's late goal would be for nought, bumping Haise's men down to sixth spot in the top-flight rankings.

Marseille and Rennes are both on Lens' coat-tails, but the visitors only have a one-point deficit to erase over recent conquerors Nice and upcoming opponents Lille, and their away form suggests that Haise's men are capable of doing just that at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy fortress.

Indeed, Lens have taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer on their travels and have kept an incredible eight clean sheets in their last 10 Ligue 1 away matches - no team possesses more on the road in the entire season - but their most recent two showdowns with Lille have ended in a share of the spoils in a 1-1 stalemate.

Lille Ligue 1 form:

Lille form (all competitions):

Lens Ligue 1 form:

Lens form (all competitions):

Team News

Lille's Jonathan David during the warm up before the match on January 22, 2022© Reuters

Lille boss Fonseca must continue to work around a handful of injury concerns following the international break, including World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti, whose knee is giving him grief.

Andrej Ilic (foot), Rafael Fernandes (muscle) and Tiago Morais (muscle) are keeping Umtiti company in the treatment room, meaning that Fonseca ought to be working with an identical group of players from the draw with Brest.

Jonathan David registered his 15th goal of the top-flight season in that stalemate, and having only taken part in one match for Canada last Saturday, the 24-year-old should take his rightful place at the tip of the hosts' attack.

As far as Lens are concerned, Haise was forced to bring defensive stalwart Jonathan Gradit off during the half-time interval against Nice, after which his replacement - Abdukodir Khusanov - picked up a suspension-inducing yellow card.

Gradit has now been ruled out with that calf injury, so Haise may have to shoe-horn Massadio Haidara or Salis Abdul Samed into a centre-back position, where they will accompany ever-presents Kevin Danso and Facundo Medina.

Deiver Machado (groin) and Jimmy Cabot (ACL) remain absent, meaning that Przemyslaw Frankowski - scorer of a brilliant penalty in Poland's Euro 2024 playoff final shootout success over Wales - is a sure-fire starter out wide.

Lille possible starting lineup:
Chevalier; Santos, Diakite, Yoro, Ismaily; Bentaleb, Andre, Gomes; Zhegrova, David, Haraldsson

Lens possible starting lineup:
Samba; Medina, Danso, Haidara; Aguilar, El Aynaoui, Mendy, Frankowski; Thomasson; Sotoca, Wahi

SM words green background

We say: Lille 1-1 Lens

Friday's encounter has all the makings of a fascinating derby between a Lille side who are hardly ever outfought on their own patch, and a Lens crop with the most away clean sheets in the current Ligue 1 campaign.

The international break has the potential to disrupt both sides' flow, though, and with both managers wary of the ramifications of a defeat, yet another low-scoring stalemate between the two sides may be on the Stade Pierre-Mauroy menu.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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