When they visit 2020-21 champions Lille on Sunday night, an in-form Lens team will be eager to keep their perfect start to the Ligue 1 season.
With the potential to defeat Lille this weekend, Lens, who is currently sitting neatly inside the top four of Ligue 1, has had a strong start to the season.
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By being unbeaten through their first nine games of the current campaign, Lens have captured the attention of Ligue 1 and cemented their place as a serious contender for European football.
The Lens supporters will be haunted by memories of last season, when a similarly impressive campaign ended in disappointment and the Blood and Gold ultimately failed to secure a European berth.
Since the 2007–2008 season, when they finished fifth in the French top flight and went on to qualify for what was then known as the UEFA Cup, they haven’t participated in any European competitions.
This season, Lens will want to make up for last year’s mistakes and keep up their winning start in order to return to European football.
Since winning the Ligue 1 championship in 2020–21, Lille has not experienced the same stability, as Les Dogues went on to finish an unsatisfactory 10th place in the previous campaign.
It has been a similarly miserable start for Lille, who enter the weekend in eighth place, and they have failed to recover.
Despite having four victories through their first nine games, Lille has matched that total with the same amount of losses as Les Dogues continue to suffer from a fragile backline.
The only team in the top half of Ligue 1 with more goals conceded than Lille is Montpellier, and the hosts have yet to record a league shutout this year. Considering that Lille lost all three of their previous encounters with Lens, there is no reason to believe that their dismal record will improve this weekend.
However, Lens’ three victories over Lille were their only victories over a team from the North of France since September 2007.
Given their outstanding accomplishments in the early part of the season, Lens have been receiving praise, and rightfully so.
It will be difficult for Lille to start against Lens on Sunday if they want to challenge for a spot in Europe this season.