The context: a champion in rebellion
Gone are the days of pomp and communion with the public at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium to celebrate the title of champion won by the men of Christophe Galtier under the nose and beard of PSG.
The people of Lille remain on four matches without success, including two losses in the derby against Lens (1-2) – ouch, ouch, it stings at home – and Wednesday in Reims on the same score. Since their elimination against Chelsea in the knockout stages of the Champions League, everything has gone askew.
Their 9th place before this 34th day, 8 points from Racing, is painful to see. “Looking at the rankings hurts your head, recognizes Jocelyn Gourvennec, Galtier’s successor, who appeals to “everyone’s pride and self-esteem”.
Racing is part of a much more buoyant dynamic. Undefeated for 11 matches (5 wins, 6 draws) – record since February-April 1982 -, authors of a huge performance on Wednesday at La Meinau against Rennes (2-1), the Blues will approach this third meeting in eight days with humility and ambition, as usual.
“We still have a very difficult calendar, with very strong teams right next to us”warns Julien Stéphan, lightning rod against the ambient euphoria.
The advantage for the Blues when stepping onto the northern lawn at 5:05 p.m. will be to know the results of all the direct opponents who will have all played.
News of the day: Liénard package, 18 players mobilized
Compared to the midweek match against Rennes, Julien Stéphan lost two players. The package of Jean-Eudes Aholou, hit in the adductors, had been recorded on Friday. And this Saturday, Dimitri Lienard had to pass. Sick since Tuesday, the captain had gritted his teeth during the first half against the Bretons before giving way to Anthony Caci at the break. Insufficiently recovered from an intestinal virus, he will not be traveling.
On the Lille side, three players will also be missing: the defender Tiago Djalo will serve his second game suspension, the midfielder Xeka and the attacker Jonathan Bamba are injured. Jocelyn Gourvennec recovers two players: the striker Burak Yilmazsuspended in Reims, and the defender Sven Botmaninjured since the second leg against Chelsea.
The possible team
Salts – Guilbert, Perrin, Nyamsi, Djiku (cap), Caci – Sissoko, Prcic, Thomasson – Gameiro, Ajorque.
Replacements: Kawashima (left), Le Marchand, Fila, H. Diarra, Bellegarde, Sahi, H. Diallo
Absent: Liénard (sick), Aholou, Waris (injured), Kandil, Doukouré (recovery), Bellaarouch (l.), Ahmed, Ouattara, Elimbi (choice)
The duel: Jonathan David vs Kevin Gameiro
Lille top scorer with 13 achievements – including a double at La Meinau in the first leg, September 25 (1-2) – jonathan david is currently in dire straits. The 22-year-old Canadian international has not scored since March 6 and the reception of Clermont. The other day, his trainer Jocelyn Gourvennec recalled that his offensive nugget did not have much gas left in the engine after having already disputed … 57 games this season between his club and his selection, qualified for the World Cup-2022.
Conversely, the “veteran” of Racing Kevin Gameiro (34 years old) has legs of fire. If his counter is stuck at 9 goals since the victory at Angers (0-1) in mid-February, the experienced striker has brought a lot. His entry into play in the 67th minute against Rennes, Wednesday evening, was thus thunderous. The man with four European cups made the Breton defense dizzy and dropped the victory ball on the head of Ludovic Ajorque.
Between the young Lille and the former Strasbourg, who will be able to be decisive?
The number: 0 out of 8
Racing has not won any of its last 8 matches against Lille in Ligue 1 (5 losses, 3 draws), its last success against the Dogues in the top flight dating back to August 13, 2017 (0-3). All bad things come to an end, right?