Lens focused on Champions League spot as they face Reims in Ligue 1 clash
While second-place Lens may yet harbour distant ambitions of hauling back the six-point gap to leaders PSG in Ligue 1’s final four games, they have a more pressing issue at stake. With only Ligue 1’s top-two going directly into the UEFA Champions League group stage, Lens are bidding to keep Marseille at bay, a cushion they opened up to two points after beating their nearest challengers 2-1 last weekend.
With none of Lens’ final four games coming against sides starting the round higher than ninth, they are firmly in the driving seat. And it’s those sorts of teams that Lens have excelled against this season, particularly at home where they have won every single game against sides ranked ninth or lower, which should boost belief they can pile the pressure on Marseille with a win here against tenth-placed Reims.
Lens have, however, already witnessed once this season that a game against Reims can be a potential banana skin, as they found out when they limped to a 1-1 draw in the reverse. Reims themselves are playing for precious little, with no more than pride and position at stake for Will Still’s side, who are realistically looking at a top-half finish as the best they can hope for.
With eyes fixated on an eighth-place finish, which would in turn mark Reims’ highest end of season Ligue 1 position since 2019/20, Still will hope his side’s 1-0 victory over Lille last time out can rally his troops for one last push. Reims were winless in four (D1, L3) prior to that win, but considering they’ve only won once away from home in league action this season against teams starting the round outside the relegation zone (D8, L4), a return to bad habits can’t be ruled out.
Players to watch: You can’t keep Loïs Openda away from the scoresheet lately, with his four goals across Lens’ last three league games all arriving inside the opening hour.
Reims’ hero against Lille was Marshall Munetsi, and he has opened the scoring in five of his last six away scoring appearances.
Hot streak: None of Reims’ last six away league games have seen both teams score.