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Seven years have passed since Arsenal FC's last away fixture in the UEFA Champions League, Europe's most prestigious club competition.
It's no surprise, then, that there has been a scramble for tickets for their first away game in the group stages, against French outfit RC Lens. Arsenal fans in Lens will be in a sold-out away section at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, and some may be travelling ticketless, too.
So, how many Arsenal fans in Lens will there be? Where should Gooners be drinking pre-match before heading to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis? Here's everything you need to know about RC Lens vs Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League, from a fans' perspective.
How many Arsenal fans in Lens?
Arsenal have sold out a 1,810 ticket allocation for the away end at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, but it's expected that many more fans will travel to France.
It will be the first time the Arsenal fans will have faced RC Lens in a competitive fixture in 23 years, though they played out a 1-1 friendly draw back in 2016.
The last time these two clubs met competively was in the UEFA Cup semi-final back in 2000. Arsenal came out on top in a two-legged affair, winning 3-1 on aggregate.
The Gunners won the first leg at Highbury 1-0 thanks to a second-minute strike from Dennis Bergkamp, while goals from Thierry Henry and Kanu got them a 2-1 second leg victory at what was then known as the Stade Felix Bollaert.
While RC Lens fans may still be hurting over that loss, there isn't much of a rivalry between the clubs two sets of fans. As like any other European match, police presence will be much more evident than for domestic games, but authorities don't believe there will be much trouble, with Arsenal fans expected to stick together while enjoying a drink or two in the city centre before and after the game.
Where do the Arsenal fans sit in the Stade Bollaert-Delelis?
Arsenal fans will be seated across three tiers and four sections. Trannin 0.7 is in the lowest tier, Trannin 1.2 and 1.7 in the middle tier and Trannin 2.7 is in the upper tier.
All tickets will be physical to ensure only genuine Arsenal fans enter this part of the stadium.
Full fans’ matchday guide for RC Lens v Arsenal
Arsenal supporters can expect an amazing experience when they visit the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, with the colour and noise of the RC Lens fans creating an electric and vibrant atmosphere, which Arsenal fans will hope they can contribute to on the night.
Where to eat & drink for Arsenal fans in Lens
The ground being located just a few minutes away from Lens City Centre means there are plenty of choices for fans to grab a drink or go for food.
If you’re looking for a sports-heavy, atmospheric Irish pub, you’ll find one at ‘The Irish Tavern’ on Avenue Rauol Briquet. It’s got a varied and big beer list and decent food.
‘La Mi-Temps’ is an actual sports bar on Route de Bethune. And ‘Cubana Bar’ is another nice place in the popular Boulevard Basly area of Lens. Check out our full RC Lens stadium guide for more.
Ticket collection info for Arsenal fans in Lens
Tickets for the match can be collected from the Visitor Ticketing Centre, located behind the away turnstiles, next to the LEPAGNOT Stand.
Emails will be sent out to those who have purchased a ticket to remind them of collection.
Photo ID must be shown when collecting tickets. ID must match booking name or ticket will not be issued.
How to get to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis: Guide for Arsenal fans in Lens
The Stade Felix-Bollaert is situated less than one kilometre from the centre of Lens, with the walk likely to take the average person under 15 minutes.
If you aren’t up for walking, the Stade Bollaert is blessed with thousands of car park spaces north-east of the pitch ensuring that driving to the stadium is made convenient for fans.
The train is one of the best methods of transport to take when visiting the Stade Bollaert-Delelis. The main railway station of the city, the Gare de Lens, is located less than half a kilometre south-west of Stade Bollaert, and leaves you with just a short walk to the stadium
Arsenal fans' mood before the trip
With a decent start their Premier League campaign and their dismantling of Dutch side PSV Eindhoven on the opening day of the UEFA Champions League, Arsenal fans are confident they can go to France and see their team pick up another three points. Some even think it is their year. Could Arsenal finally win the UEFA Champions League? Well, getting a first win on the road would be a good start.
🚨Quick reminder for Arsenal fans🚨
Arsenal have started this season by winning the community shield followed by 6 wins including wins against united and palace away, 2 draws one of which was an on form spurs side and a huge total of ZERO losses. Yet if you looked on Twitter and… pic.twitter.com/HpqBt9URiU
— BenWhiteLines (@BenWhiteLines) September 28, 2023
Best videos of Arsenal fans in Lens (so far)
Well, the Gooners aren't quite there yet! But we'll keep this regularly updated with the best pictures, footage and stories from Arsenal in France.