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Ligue 1 Matchweek 12 preview: Olympique Lyonnais vs. Stade de Reims (13:00h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Lyon will be aiming to continue their charge up the Ligue 1 table when they welcome a struggling Reims to Groupama Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.

The hosts enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Angers in their most recent outing, whereas Reims suffered yet another defeat as they lost to Nimes by the same scoreline.

After a truly underwhelming start to the campaign, Lyon are finally starting to play like a side with intentions of breaking back into the Champions League.

Rudi Garcia has now witnessed his team take the spoils in four of their last five games - which includes that impressive 4-1 trouncing of Monaco last month - although the manner of Lyon's last two victories have not been so dominant.

Les Gones scraped past an out-of-sorts Saint-Etienne outfit 2-1 before travelling to mid-table Angers a week later, with Tino Kadewere's goal - his third in two games - enough to see Lyon eke out another vital win.

Garcia's men now boast an eight-game unbeaten run in the French top flight and have moved up to third in the table after 11 matches, and unlike the two sides above them in Lille and Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon can focus entirely on the domestic campaign with no Champions League or Europa League to worry about.

Injuries and positive coronavirus tests are piling up for the European-competing teams amid an unforgiving fixture list, which should play right into Lyon's hands ahead of the festive period.

While Reims supporters would have been heartbroken at their European journey ending so soon, their league position would undoubtedly be much more precarious if they were having to juggle domestic and Europa League commitments.

David Guion's men have started to pick up some long-overdue points in Ligue 1 but are still teetering dangerously close to the bottom three, with Reims only one point clear of 18th-placed Lorient and three above Strasbourg in 19th.

Les Rouges et Blancs' fortunes appeared to be improving with seven points taken from a possible nine against Montpellier, Strasbourg and Lens, but Reims were brought crashing back down to Earth with a narrow home defeat to Nimes last Sunday.

Renaud Ripart continued his fine goalscoring form against Reims as his penalty proved to be the difference between the two sides, although Guion's men have fared better on the road and can stretch their unbeaten away record to four matches in the top flight this weekend.

Reims' recent record against Lyon is certainly a cause for optimism; Les Gones are winless against the strugglers since 2015, with Les Rouges et Blances winning two of their last four against Lyon in the top flight.

Lyon Ligue 1 form: DWWDWW

Reims Ligue 1 form: DLWWDL

Lyon will be able to welcome Maxwell Cornet and Karl Toko Ekambi back from suspension for the visit of Reims, with the duo in line to replace Melvin Bard and Rayan Cherki respectively.

Kadewere is in undroppable form at the moment and is sure to keep his place in the team over Moussa Dembele, while Bruno Guimaraes will be holding out for a recall to the middle of the park.

However, fellow midfielder Houssem Aouar will reportedly play no part in this one after the 22-year-old refused to partake in fitness work after last week's win over Angers - a game in which he was an unused substitute.

Reims have an integral player of their own returning from a ban, with Wout Faes set to be welcomed back to the defence with open arms after missing out the loss to Nimes.

Another alteration at the back should see Predrag Rajkovic return in goal, with Yehvann Diouf given a rare outing against Nimes owing to Rajkovic's exploits with Serbia.

Ghislain Konan could return from injury in time to compete with Thibault De Smet for the left-back spot, but Xavier Chavalerin and Anastasios Donis are both expected to remain sidelined for a little while longer.

The league's second-highest scorer Boulaye Dia, who was recently given a seal of approval by Sadio Mane, will look to build on the eight strikes he has already notched up this term as he leads the line with Kaj Sierhuis.

Lyon possible starting lineup:
Lopes; Dubois, Marcelo, Denayer, Cornet; Mendes, Caqueret, Guimaraes; Toko Ekambi, Depay, Kadewere

Reims possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Foket, Faes, Abdelhamid, De Smet; Cafaro, Munetsi, Berisha, Mbuku; Sierhuis, Dia

Source: Sports Mole / Ben Knapton 

 

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