L1: the Bollaert stadium, impregnable citadel of RC Lens | TV5MONDE

Lens, which is two points away from securing second place in Ligue 1, will be able to count against Ajaccio on Saturday (9:00 p.m.) on the incandescent public of Bollaert, whose fervor has carried the Blood and Gold throughout the season.

The statistics speak for themselves: Lens have won 16 of their 18 home games, one draw and one defeat. With 49 points gleaned from Bollaert, Lens collected seven points more than the second best team in this area, Rennes.

As a symbol, to the benefit of Marseille’s defeat to Lille on Saturday (2-1), it is therefore at home that Lens has a first opportunity to definitively secure second place in Ligue 1, synonymous with direct qualification in Champions League group stage.

Finishing second to Bollaert, “it would be a form of reward for an entire club, for all the supporters who have been following us for a long time”, admitted Florian Sotoca, one of the executives of the Lensois locker room, Thursday at a press conference.

“It would be a real pleasure for them, and for us to commune with them”, added the one who could evolve against Ajaccio at the right piston position in the absence of Przemyslaw Frankowski, suspended.

After each victory, the recipe is the same: the players of Lens meet in front of the Marek stand, that of the kop, and sing with their supporters their victory song, “We have them chicotés”. After the success against Paris on January 1 (3-1), it was Lensois coach and general manager Franck Haise himself who took the microphone, an image of the unbreakable link between the institution and its supporters.

“A volcano”

This communion, there is no doubt that the Lensois players will be keen to offer it to their public on Saturday, as they know the importance that its support has had in their season.

It is in this enclosure that Lens experienced the strongest moments of its season: the victory against Paris SG, which then allowed the Lensois to come back to within three points of the Parisian leader; the recital against Monaco (3-0), probably the most successful match of the Blood and Gold season; or the success against Marseille (2-1), oh so difficult but so precious in the fight for second place.

“When you’re at Bollaert, anything can happen,” said Jonathan Gradit after the victory against Reims (2-1) two weeks ago, when Lens had played ten against eleven for 70 minutes. “It’s a volcano, an arena, and when you’re in that stage, you have to transcend yourself”.

The Lensois public was sometimes even too fervent, like the cracked smoke bombs and the fireworks fired from the Marek stand opposite Monaco.

Whatever happens, the Lensois will set foot on Bollaert’s lawn one last time this season: on June 3, after their match of the 38th day in Auxerre, they are expected in the night in Lens, to celebrate with their fans this already historic season for the club. Once again, the stadium will be sold out.

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