Freiburg vs Lens. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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The return match will take place in Germany, does this mean that Freiburg have a better chance of success?

SC Freiburg will host RC Lens in the UEFA Europa League playoff round match at the Europa-Park Stadium. The fixture will take place on Thursday, February 22, beginning at 23:15 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Freiburg News & Current Form: 

In the group stage of the Europa League, Freiburg finished second in their quartet with 12 points gained in six games. The team of Christian Streich lost to West Ham United FC in two matches and managed to beat Olympiacos of Greece and Bačka Topola of Serbia twice each. 

Freiburg pulled off a real feat last week and kept their goal intact against Lens, a situation that is not typical for the team in recent times (0:0), with even Arsenal FC losing to the French in the UEFA Champions League group stage. 

Now the hosts need to take advantage of the home stands and get a passage to the further part of the Europa League. Last season, the German club reached the UEL 1/8  final, but were knocked out by Juventus FC (0:3 on aggregate of two matches). Interesting fact: the Germans have not won a single game in the European Cup playoffs since they passed FC St. Gallen in 2001.

The current form of the German team does not please the fans at all, as the team can not win for five matches in all tournaments, losing three times in this stretch with two draws. In the last round of the Bundesliga, where the club goes eighth in the standings, a draw with Eintracht Frankfurt (3:3) was recorded, with Michael Gregoritsch scoring the decisive goal in the 90th minute. Prior to that, there were also losses from SV Werder Bremen(3:1), VfB Stuttgart (1:3) and Borussia Dortmund (3:0). 

Top scorer of SC Freiburg – Vincenzo Grifo

Christian Günter, an undoubted main squad player, is out of action due to a serious injury. The same goes for Daniel-Kofi Kyereh (missing for a long time), Austrian Philipp Lienhart, Max Rosenfelder and Kenneth Schmidt (only 5 appearances this season). Overall, these losses are a serious blow to Freiburg’s fighting ability. 

Lucas Holer (6 goals in the league), Italian Vincenzo Grifo (6 goals, 7 assists in the league) and Austrian Gregoritsch (4 goals) will surely be in the starting lineup and will be responsible for creativity in attack. Japanese Ritsu Doan returned to the club in top form after the AFC Asian Cup and was the hero of the game against Eintracht – there is no doubt that the midfielder will again deliver a brilliant performance on Thursday (3:3).

Lens News & Current Form: 

Lens started their journey in the Champions League, where they finished third in the group stage and went on to conquer the Europa League. In six games, the team secured two victories, lost and drew in the same number of games. Wards of Franck Haise were below Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven in their group, but managed to beat Spanish Sevilla FC. Moreover, the Frenchmen lost to the London club with a shocking score of 0:6.

Lens failed to gain the upper hand in the first meeting of the Europa League play-offs – a draw with Freiburg (0:0). The reason for the low performance of the first match of the 1/16 finals lies in the cautious and pragmatic game of the French club. The coaching staff rarely strongly shift the emphasis on attack. The focus is mainly on tight defense in the middle zone and high pressing. The team showed uncoordinated football, as a consequence of which in the return game they will perform without an advantage.

The Red and Yellows were eager to rehabilitate themselves in front of the fans for such a disappointing performance, but they failed to do so: last weekend, the Frenchmen earned a 1:1 draw with Stade de Reims. This result broke a streak of three consecutive wins in Ligue 1 – over Toulouse FC (0:2), then over FC Nantes (0:1) and finally over RC Strasbourg (3:1). But even a draw continues their winless streak, which stretches back to mid-January after the defeat to PSG. As a result, the visitors are sixth in the overall standings after 22 rounds with 36 points – two points behind the UCL zone. 

The team’s away performance is also unimpressive, with only two victories in six previous matches in all competitions. Lens will probably have to do without the injured Jimmy Cabot (not on the pitch this season) and Deiver Machado (3 goals in 12 matches in the current campaign). The good news is the return to action of Facundo Medina – he served his suspension last week.

Top scorer of RC Lens – Wesley Said

As for the rest, the visitors’ starting lineup will be similar to that of the first match, with Elye Wahi (3 goals, 2 assists in 16 games in Ligue 1) and Florian Sotoka (4 goals, 5 assists in Ligue 1) at the cutting edge of the attack, as well as Portuguese midfielder David Pereira da Costa (3 goals). Jonathan Gradit, Ruben Aguilar and Neil El Ainaoui were left on the bench in the championship at the weekend and will also take the field from the first minutes this time around. 

Freiburg form guide: W-L-L-L-D-D

Lens form guide: L-W-W-W-D-D

Freiburg vs Lens Head-To-Head Record:

  • February 15, 2024: Lens 0 – 0 Freiburg (UEFA Europa League).

Freiburg vs Lens Predicted XI:

Freiburg’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Atubolu; Kubler, Keitel, Gulde, Makengo; Hofler, Eggestein, Rohl; Doan, Holer, Sallai.

Lens’s possible starting lineup (3-4-2-1): Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Aguilar, Diouf, El Aynaoui, Frankowski; Sotoca, Wahi, Pereira da Costa.

Statistical preview of the match Freiburg vs Lens:

  • Freiburg’s First XI average age is 28.3 years, Lens’ First XI average age is 26.7 years.
  • The total value of Freiburg’s squad is 189 mln euros, while the total of Lens comes up to 199 mln euros.
  • Rade Obrenovič has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served sixteen games this season, showing an average of 3.5 Yellow Cards. 
  • In this European Cup season, Freiburg’s games have an average of 3.43 goals scored, while Lens’ games have an average of 2.43 goals scored. 
  • In the current European Cup draw, the German team serves on average 5.14 standards from the corner of the field, while Lens allow their opponents to earn 5.29 corners. 
  • The hosts average one yellow card per match, while Lens receive an average of 3.86 cards per game. The rivals earned a total of 4 yellow cards in the first face-to-face match of the Europa League 1/16 finals.
  • Freiburg have only one fiasco at home in the past nine matches with four victories.
  • Lens outside the home walls suffered only one defeat in the past five games in all tournaments.
  • These clubs have played only one match between them, which ended in a 0:0 draw.
  • Freiburg have not conceded more than one goal in six of their last eight home games in the UEL.

What has been said before the match:

Coach of Freiburg Christian Streich about the 2nd leg match against RC Lens:

“Lens is a very strong team that has a lot of pace and has had a lot of success in recent months. We have one chance: to reach our absolute maximum. Only then can we beat a team like that on a special day.”

“We did well against Lens because we played very well against the ball. We have to win the game, we had the better chances. We’ll try to work again tomorrow so that we don’t allow Lens many chances.”

“It’s about the attitude of each individual. How focused am I, how do I prepare myself? No matter whether someone starts or not, no matter what their name is – we need maximum focus. If we bring that discipline onto the pitch, we have a chance.”

Vincenzo Grifo, midfielder of Freiburg,  about how support of fans boosts the team:

“What do we want? That our fans give us a huge cheer, like they always do. Tomorrow is a special game. We’re all aware of that; everyone knows what they have to do. And when the fans whip us up like that, it gives us extra strength.”

“Three goals is always good – but getting three is not so nice. Lens have good individual quality. But we were able to create our chances in the first leg and we need to do the same tomorrow. And then we want to be more efficient.”

Florian Sotoca, number 7 of Lens, analyzed the first leg and the opposing team:

“In the first leg, we came up against a good team who caused us a lot of problems. SC Freiburg are 8th in its championship and are used to European competitions. Despite everything, we move around with great calm and serenity.”

“We know that we are on good momentum in Ligue 1 and the European Cup. We want to continue the adventure, we are an ambitious group and we want to show it tomorrow! It won’t be easy to have a big match but we will put all the good things from the first leg in place, while trying to correct what we lacked to be more offensive and hurt them even more.”

Freiburg vs Lens Prediction:

The French failed to capitalise on the home advantage, although the Stade Bollaert-Delelis stadium proved to be a place where Lens have been performing well in the European Cup. This is the undisputed tactical merit of Christian Streich. Now Lens will have to achieve a positive result on the road. And there are grounds to believe that Lens might find the keys to Freiburg’s defence from the second time around: the Germans have conceded 12 goals in their last 4 Bundesliga matches (2 of which were at the Europa-Park Stadium). However, the last time the French won away on the international stage was back in 2005. And the lack of Eurocup experience speaks against the Blood and Gold. Freiburg, in turn, look good at home: the team have not lost in 6 of their last 8 matches in the Europa League, winning 5. The German club suffered two defeats in this stretch against last year’s finalists West Ham, who finished top in the group. In the Bundesliga, the Breisgau Brazilians have lost only 2 of 11 games during the season. Lens is a much less formidable opponent, besides unimpressive in the away games, even in the national championship, the French have only managed to beat the representatives of the bottom half of the standings. 

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Freiburg will win with a handicap (0) – Yes.

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