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UEFA Champions League Betting Preview: Sevilla vs Lens
September 20, 2023
Sevilla take on Lens in the Champions League at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday night, September 20
Sevilla and Lens have been drawn in Group B of the Champions League along with PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal.
Sevilla Betting Preview (-103 at BetOnline)
José Luis Mendilibar's side finished 12
in La Liga last season - their worst top-flight position since the club's promotion in 2001. However, the 62-year-old Spanish coach was only appointed during the March international break following Jorge Sampaoli's sacking.
Yet, the Rojiblancos have managed to qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League title for a record seventh time.
The new campaign hasn't started in the same manner, though, as Sevilla lost their three opening matches in La Liga before a 1-0 home win over newly-promoted Las Palmas on Sunday.
Under pressure manager José Luis Mendilibar will be looking to take another deep breath as Sevilla have finally registered a first victory of the season. Sevillistas will certainly be hoping that their recent win is a turning point as they prepare to get their new Champions League campaign underway against another underperforming side.
The Europa League winners have also suffered a penalty-shootout defeat in the UEFA Super Cup match against Manchester City last month.
Introduced as a second-half substitute, Dodi Lukebakio enjoyed a memorable debut as the Belgian winger scored the winner against Las Palmas on Sunday. Lukebakio joined the Andalusian outfit from German side Hertha BSC and will provide a much-needed attacking variety
Rafa Mir and Youssef En-Nesyri are competing for the centre-forward role, with the latter tipped to start as Mir failed to impress on his first start of the season against Las Palmas.
En-Nesyri scored in his first two appearances this season but lost his starting spot after failing to do so in defeats against Deportivo Alaves and Girona last month. However, the Moroccan forward could be recalled for Sevilla's Champions League opener.
Spanish veteran Sergio Ramos returned to his boyhood club after nearly two decades away. His arrival at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan came just at the right time, with centre-backs Marcao and Tanguy Nianzou both sidelined through injury.
Deadline Day signing Boubakary Soumare will also hope to get his first start for Sevilla, but veteran Ivan Rakitic and summer signing Djibril Sow are expected to retain their starting berths in the middle of the park.
Experienced Argentina international Marcos Acuna also remains sidelined, so Adrià Pedrosa is set to continue at left-back.
Lens Betting Preview (+305 at BetOnline)
Les Sang et Or enjoyed a sensational season to finish second in Ligue 1, only a point behind champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Remarkably, Lens were in Ligue 2 only three years ago. Now they’re in the Champions League. As a result, Franck Haise's side will now play in Europe's elite competition for the third time in their history after 1998–99 and 2002–03.
The former Lens B head coach was promoted as a first-team manager in February 2020 and he has been writing history ever since.
Almost 21 years after Lens played out a 3-3 draw with Bayern Munich in Germany, the French side are back to the Champions League with a trip to Seville - a city that witnessed some unforgettable nights of European football over the past years, though most of them were in the Europa League.
Taking the distance from North France to Southern Spain, Lens will be desperate to win their first game of the season or to at least avoid a defeat.
Given their taste for the big games last season – Lens have convincingly beaten Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Marseille and AS Monaco on their way to second place - but this wasn't the case in early weeks of 2023-24.
Lens lost back-to-back games against PSG and Monaco (3-1 and 3-0 respectively, both on the road) prior to the break and they have actually lost three away games in a row, conceding three goals in each of them.
Having suffered another disappointing result at the weekend, it was the lack of cutting edge and finishing that led to a 1-0 defeat to Metz at the Stade Bollaert on Saturday night.
Unfortunately, Lens have lost their top goalscorer Loïs Openda, who was tempted to join Bundesliga side RB Leipzig over the summer. With 21 goals in 38 league games last term, the Belgian forward had improved Roger Boli’s record goal tally over a single campaign for the club.
The departure of Openda and Seko Fofana's decision to join the Saudi Arabian league this summer have secured a decent amount of money for Franck Haise to spend but losing your key players and finding new ones is always an uphill task, especially when an unusual, big season is coming for the club.
Elye Wahi, who scored 19 goals in 33 top-flight games for fellow Ligue 1 side Montpellier last season, was the chosen one to replace Openda up front, but the France U21 international is yet to score after three appearances for his new club.
Wahi is expected to lead the line against Sevilla, with the support of Angelo Fulgini and Florian Sotoca from second position.
Elsewhere, another active France U21 international Andy Diouf and Dutch midfielder Stijn Spierings were both brought in to bolster the midfield.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan goalkeeper Wuilker Fariñez as well as the likes of Jimmy Cabot and David Pereira da Costa are all injured for the French side, while young Colombian winger Óscar Cortés, who joined Lens over the summer, was left out of the traveling squad.
Possible Starting Lineups of Sevilla and Lens
Sevilla: Marko Dmitrovic - Jesus Navas, Sergio Ramos, Loïc Badé, Adrià Pedrosa - Djibril Sow, Ivan Rakitic - Dodi Lukebakio, Oliver Torres, Lucas Ocampos - Youssef En-Nesyri. (4-2-3-1)
Lens: Brice Samba - Jonathan Gradit, Kevin Danso, Facundo Medina - Przemys?aw Frankowski, Salis Abdul Samed, Adrien Thomasson, Deiver Machado - Florian Sotoca, Angelo Fulgini - Elye Wahi. (3-4-2-1)
Spooky Express Betting Prediction
Lens were steadily progressing in the French top-flight over the last few years under Franck Haise. However, the lack of European experience and their current form are a part of the reason why we believe that Sevilla should be capable of winning both sides' Group B opener.
We don't say that Lens might be an easy opponent on the continental stage, but The Rojiblancos face one of the most favorable opponents possible at the moment to kickstart their Champions League campaign.
Moreover, Sevilla next travel to the Netherlands to face PSV Eindhoven before back-to-back matches against Arsenal later this autumn, so a positive outcome against Lens could mean even more in the long-term.
Spooky Express Free Play: Sevilla -103 at BetOnline for 6/10 Units
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