RC Lens vs SC Freiburg preview, team news, tickets & prediction

Freiburg heads to Northern France in a bid to reac

A Football Report
RC Lens vs SC Freiburg preview, team news, tickets & prediction

Freiburg heads to Northern France in a bid to reach the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 as they take on RC Lens in a playoff tie.

Lens are looking to continue their European adventures with an enticing tie against Freiburg who have had a strong campaign so far in the Europa League. Both sides meet for the first time but they are desperate to write epic stories in the competition this term.

The Blood and Gold finished runner-up in Ligue 1 last season as they lost out to Paris Saint-Germain by a single point and thus qualified for the Champions League for just the third time in their history.

Lens began the campaign in very bad shape with four defeats and a draw from their first five league matches. A draw against Sevilla marked their return to the top-flight of European club football and they won each of the next three, culminating in that famous 2-1 win over Arsenal in the first UCL home game of the season.

A draw against Lille in the Derby du Nord was considered a positive result but they continued to draw and then lost the return leg of their double-header against PSV. Five points from the first four Champions League matches proved a decent return for the Frenchmen.

Lens lost 6-0 at Arsenal on Matchday 5 but they had turned around their league results and they proved as much when Angelo Fulgini’s last-gasp goal sensationally kept them in European contention with the 2-1 win against Sevilla.

This means Franck Haise’s side finished a point behind PSV to secure a knockout spot in the Europa League. Despite the recent good form, Lens’ 2-0 league defeat to PSG last time out dropped them to eighth position with 26 points after 18 matches.

They must find momentum in the three Ligue 1 games before they face Freiburg as Lens would be desperate to make a mark in this competition.

The Germans are seventh in the Bundesliga after the first 17 games of 2023-24 and they will be looking forward to this fixture as it presents a chance to return to the Europa League Round of 16 where they reached for the first time and were knocked out by Juventus last season.

The Breisgau Brazilians are not one of the traditional super teams in Germany but they will be eyeing the achievement of Eintracht Frankfurt who won the Europa League in 2022.

Freiburg are managed by Christian Streich who is in his 12th year in charge of the club and he will be dreaming of a fairytale run in this competition.

After finishing fifth in the league last season, they started this campaign with back-to-back victories but only won one of the next three although their Europa League group stage campaign began with a 3-2 win over Olympiacos.

They lost 2-1 to West Ham on Matchday 2 but beat Backa Topola in the next European engagement. Freiburg recorded their biggest win in UEFA competition during the home leg against the Serbians then repeated the 5-0 scoreline against Olympiacos only three weeks later.

The group stage was concluded with a defeat to West Ham but they had qualified behind the Londoners as runner-up in Group A.

Nevertheless, Freiburg are keen goalscorers in Europe this season and they will be aiming to use that attacking flair to overwhelm Lens in their playoff tie.

It is pertinent that they approach the away leg with caution but they can also call on recent experience of preparing for big European games.

Match tickets

The Stade Bollaert-Delelis is the venue for this first leg encounter which takes place on Thursday, February 15 2024 with kick-off set for 8 PM UK time. Match tickets can be purchased on each club’s website as well as through UEFA’s allocation.

This match is an historic occasion for Lens and their fans will be charged up for the game in order to give their team the required boost. Meanwhile, there should be enough match tickets to go around as the stadium’s capacity of 38,223 is about 7,000 more than the city's population.

Traveling fans can be sure to get tickets for the game and anyone who cannot find copies through official sources may search for RC Lens vs Freiburg tickets on a ticket resale site.

Team news

Jimmy Cabot, Deiver Machado, Massadio Haidara and Ruben Aguilar are injured at the time of writing and Lens are also sweating on the well-being of Nampalys Mendy, Salis Abdul Samed, Morgan Guilavogui, Oscar Cortes and Abdukodir Khusanov who have been called up to their various national teams.

Freiburg has the likes of Ritsu Doan, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Christian Gunter, Max Rosenfelder and Kenneth Schmidt currently unavailable due to injuries or international duty. They will hope to have them all back for this fixture in good health.


Lens has had an up-and-down season so far but Haise deserves credit for how he has steered them from a poor start to the campaign. Having found balance with the players at the disposal, the French side will be keen to put in their best performance when the European tournament resumes.

Lens: Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Aguilar, Sotoca, Mendy, Abdul Samed, Frankowski; Costa, Wahi

Freiburg’s long-serving captain, Christian Gunter, would be key in this game with his experience at the back to help the team in this crunch fixture.

The familiarity of their strongest side would also help as they look to get the better of Lens. Vincenzo Grifo is one to keep an eye on for his creativity and attacking instincts.

Freiburg: Atubolu; Sildialli, Ginter, Gulde, Makengo; Doan, Eggestein, Höfler, Grifo; Sallai, Gregoritsch


Freiburg are slight favourites due to their relative experience in continental competitions but Lens are tricky opponents who would be dreaming of a fairytale victory.

Either side must step up to the plate and although Freiburg are likely to score more goals over the balance of the whole tie, the first leg could be edgy and tactical. Lens must thus harness the energy from their home crowd to put forward a good result from the first leg.

Lens 1-1 Freiburg