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Lens will endeavour to boost their hopes of European qualification when Brest pay a visit to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis for Saturday’s Ligue 1 showdown.

Sang et Or ran out 2-1 winners at Angers last time out, while Michel Der Zakarian’s side fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Lorient.

A trio of extraordinary goals told the story of Angers’ encounter with Lens at the Stade Raymond Kopa last week, with Les Scoistes breaking the deadlock just before the break through Angelo Fulgini’s thunderbolt before Franck Haise’s side came storming back.

Some inexplicably shaky goalkeeping from Danijel Petkovic led to a goalmouth panic and ultimately ended with the ball being deflected into the back of the net off Batista Mendy from Ismael Traore’s attempted clearance, and Jonathan Clauss’s cross-cum-shot three minutes later settled the tie.

Lens have now reignited their European charge with seven points from the last nine on offer in Ligue 1 – a run of form which has seen Sang et Or reclaim sixth spot in the table – and only three points separate Haise’s side from Strasbourg and Rennes in the European places.

Proving as much of a surprise package this season as they did in 2020-21, Lens are certainly showing that the previous campaign was no fluke, and the home crowd seldom leave the Stade Bollaert-Delelis without seeing their side claim at least a point.

Indeed, Lens have lost just one of their last nine top-flight matches on familiar territory and also have friendly fixtures with Metz and Clermont to look forward to in the coming weeks, so the hosts sure have found the right time to hit a rich vein of form.

Brest coach Michel Der Zakarian on January 22, 2022© Reuters

There were no such spectacular goals on show at the Stade Francis Le-Ble during Brest’s battle with Lorient in gameweek 26, but after Brendan Chardonnet was sent off on the stroke of the half-hour mark, Les Merlus took advantage in somewhat messy fashion.

The 10 men of Brest were sunk by a scrappy Ibrahima Kone goal in the 73rd minute of the contest as their streak of inconsistency continued, but as far as their league fortunes are concerned, there is not much for Les Pirates to fight for.

Indeed, Der Zakarian’s side continue to languish in mid-table obscurity in 12th place – 10 points clear of the drop zone and 11 adrift of challenging for a European spot – so the only realistic aim for Les Pirates heading into the business end of the season is a top-half push.

However, with five points separating them from 11th-placed Montpellier HSC, clambering into the top 10 will be a difficult ask for this Brest outfit, especially seeing as they have failed to win any of their last five away from home in all tournaments.

Then again, Brest humbled Lens in a 4-0 thrashing during their meeting at the Stade Francis Le-Ble back in November and have not failed to score in their last three Ligue 1 meetings with Sang et Or, who did claim a 2-1 win at home in the 2020-21 season.

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