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Lille - Montpellier: 'Kral' Burak Yilmaz on goal trail

Publish on 16/04/2021 at 10:27 - D. CROSSAN

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Burak Yilmaz is nicknamed 'Kral' (king) in his native Turkey and his goals could see LOSC crowned Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions. The leaders kick off Round 33 at home to Montpellier on Friday evening.

LILLE - MONTPELLIER

(kick-off at 19:00 GMT on Friday)

>> LIVE SCORING, STATISTICS AND COMMENTARY

Yilmaz scored his first club goal since returning from two months out with a calf injury injury in LOSC's hard fought 2-0 win at Metz in Round 32, taking the 35-year-old into double figures for his maiden season in French football.

The Turkish international - who netted a hat-trick against Memphis Depay's Netherlands during the international window - told L'Equipe: "I have missed nine games in the league this season because of my injury, so I could have scored a lot more. Given the number of matches I have played (22), 10 goals is really not bad. From a sporting and personal point of view, I'm having a very good year. The first month and a half were quite difficult. The Language of football is universal and my adaptation went well because I have experience."

Yilmaz: "You need to be exemplary"

Asked about his role as the "big brother" in the LOSC dressing room, Yilmaz said: "You need to be exemplary and show up on the field. When the younger players look at me, they see someone who is experienced and above all someone who performs well. On the pitch, the big brother doesn't exist. During a match, players who are 18 or 30 are the same. I just have more kilometres on the clock. I also learn from them every day. It's mutual. It's an osmosis, in fact, between experienced players like José Fonte, Benjamin André, Mike Maignan and the younger players."

Galtier: "David has a high pain threshold"

Christophe Galtier has Jonathan David - also the scorer of 10 league goals in 2020-2021 - available again after an ankle problem sustained after netting the winner at Paris Saint-Germain a fortnight ago. Galtier said: "Jonathan David is back quicker than we expected him to me. He's incredibly tough and has a high pain threshold. His ankle was damaged but he trained, and he did all the squad training sessions at high intensity in match conditions. That's good for him and for us. Yusuf Yazici has the authorisation to play, he's out of his period of isolation, and he's available."

Lille are three points clear of champions Paris Saint-Germain with six matches to play and must avoid slipping up at home, having fallen at Stade Pierre Mauroy to Nîmes before the international window. Galtier commented: "Our most recent matches at home haven't been good, especially in attack. But when you go to Paris, I've rearely seen a team go there, dominate, be open and win. Against Metz we weren't good and we've been average in recent outings."

Eighth in the table, Montpellier are six points behind fifth-placed Lens in the chase for a European place. Coach Michel Der Zakarian said: "I don't think the game is our last chance for Europe. Witout giving you the number of wins we need, we must win matches. And why can't we win at Lille? Very few clubs have done it but we have to go there with that ambition and not think we're going to lose."

Probable Teams:

Lille: Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Weah, André, Sanches, Bamba; Ikoné, Yilmaz

Montpellier: Omlin; Sambia, Hilton, Congré, Ristic; Mollet, Ferri, Savanier; Laborde, Delort, Mavididi

>> Round 33: Top four still neck and neck in the title race

>> Wahbi Khazri: Saint-Etienne's one to watch... again