Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu returns to Stade de Reims' squad as they face Strasbourg in a league clash on Friday night.
Stade de Reims defender Joseph Okumu is set to make a triumphant return to action as his team gears up to take on Strasbourg in a highly-anticipated Ligue 1 showdown at the Stade Auguste-Delaune II this Friday.
Okumu's comeback could not have come at a more crucial time for Reims, who have been grappling with a recent drop in form and are eager to get back on the winning track.
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The Kenya international had been sidelined with a niggly thigh strain that he picked up during a clash against Paris Saint-Germain just before the international break.
His absence was deeply felt by the Reims squad, as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Stade Rennes last weekend.
Okumu's injury also ruled him out of action for Harambee Stars' opening two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures against Gabon and Seychelles, further underscoring the significance of his return for both club and country.
Reims has experienced a recent dip in their performance, suffering two consecutive defeats that have left them in fifth place in the league table.
In their previous encounter against Rennes, they managed to equalize in added time of the first half, but Rennes dominated the second half, securing a comfortable 3-1 victory.
Strasbourg, on the other hand, has struggled with a six-game winless streak in Ligue 1, although they have managed to secure draws in their last three league games.
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Their most recent outing saw Emanuel Emegha's early goal canceled out by Jonathan Clauss, resulting in a 1-1 draw against Marseille.
Currently positioned 14th in the league table with 13 points, Strasbourg is eager to secure a win that could potentially propel them to the 11th spot.
As the two teams prepare to face off, it is worth noting their historical clashes. They have locked horns 66 times in all competitions since 1945, with Reims holding the upper hand in the head-to-head record, boasting 31 wins compared to Strasbourg's 18. Seventeen matches have ended in draws.
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In recent years, Strasbourg has enjoyed an unbeaten streak against Reims, clinching a 2-0 away victory in their last encounter last season. Both teams have faced their share of defeats this season, with Reims succumbing to three losses at home and Strasbourg falling three times on the road.
Reims, known for their strong home record, has only lost to Strasbourg at home once since 1960, and that defeat occurred just last season.
Strasbourg, on the other hand, has struggled to find the back of the net in three of their last five away games in Ligue 1.
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In terms of team composition, Reims will have to contend with several absences, including Valentin Atangana Edoa, Keito Nakamura, Josh Wilson-Esbrand, and Ibrahim Diakite, who missed the Rennes match and are likely to sit out this one.
Additionally, Marshall Munetsi is sidelined for the remainder of the year due to an ankle injury.
Strasbourg's Karol Fila is the only notable absentee for their manager Patrick Vieira, allowing him to field a strong starting XI as he seeks to break his team's six-game winless streak.