An in-form Lens side will be keen to maintain their unbeaten start to the Ligue 1 season when they travel to 2020-21 champions Lille on Sunday evening.
Sitting pretty inside the Ligue 1 top four, Lens have begun the season in fine stead, with the potential to take a huge scalp against Lille this weekend.
Unbeaten from their first nine matches so far this season, Lens have caught the imagination in Ligue 1 and have positioned themselves strongly in the race for European football.
Memories of last season will haunt the Lens faithful, after a similarly strong campaign ended in disappointment, with the Blood and Gold ultimately falling short of a European position.
They have been without continental football since the 2007-08 campaign when they went on to qualify for what was then called the UEFA Cup, following a fifth-place finish in the French top flight.
A return to European football will be the aim for Lens this season, as they look to make amends from the last campaign and maintain their start this time around.
For Lille, there has been no such stability for them since winning the 2020-21 Ligue 1 title, as Les Dogues went on to finish in a disappointing 10th last season.
Failing to bounce back, it has been a similarly dismal start to proceedings for Lille, who enter the weekend sitting in eighth.
Despite picking up four wins from their opening nine matches, Lille have matched that tally with the same number of defeats as a shaky backline continues to cost Les Dogues.
Montpellier are the only side in the Ligue 1 top half who have shipped more goals than Lille, with the hosts yet to keep a clean sheet in the league this season.
There is nothing to suggest that poor record will be changed this weekend, given the fact Lille that lost all three meetings against Lens last season.
However, for Lens, those three triumphs over Lille represent their only wins against the side from Northern France since September 2007.
Lille Ligue 1 form:
Lens Ligue 1 form:
We say: Lille 1-2 Lens
Lens have been earning plaudits and for good reason this season, given their fantastic performances in the early stage of the season.
For Lille, they have work to do if they wish to compete for the European places this season, but it is unlikely to start against Lens on Sunday.