It's the final day of the French league: Bordeaux only need to draw against Caen on Saturday to be crowned champions of France for the sixth time. As for Marseille, they can only win the title if they beat Rennes and if Bordeaux lose their match.
AFP - The final day of the French season will produce a new champion for the first time since 2002 as Bordeaux attempt to pick up the point they need at Caen and deny Marseille, who haven't touched silverware of any kind since they won the Champions League in 1993.
Laurent Blanc's attractive side are in control of their own destiny and despite looking nervy in last weekend's crucial 1-0 home win over Monaco, are solid favourites to win their first title since 1999, against a Caen team threatened with relegation.
Should the Girondins manage at least a draw, that will be sufficient to provide another agonisingly painful setback for Marseille and their frustrated fans after leading the table down the stretch before a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Lyon on May 17 handed the initiative to Bordeaux.
However, League Cup winners Bordeaux have never won at Caen in nine trips to the Normandy club's Michel d'Ornano stadium and have scored only three goals while conceding 18.
Former Caen midfielder Yoan Gouffran knows the race is far from over.
"There's going to be a great atmosphere but for me this match has a particular feeling as I'm playing against my old club. But if I have a chance to score, of course I will take it." Gouffran told L'Equipe.
Caen's star striker Steve Savidan has also stoked up the Bordeaux camp by saying he wants to help Marseille become champions, but Gouffran says his team are highly motivated.
"We know what he (Savidan) said, that he wants to help Marseille become champions by scoring against us. But now, in the changing room, we are all extremely motivated," added Gouffran.
Marseille's Belgian coach Eric Gerets - who will leave the club at the end of the season - knows only a home win over Britanny-club Rennes will keep their flickering hopes alive, while they must also hope Bordeaux choke at Caen.
The silver-lining for Marseille is they are guaranteed to finish second and claim an automatic spot in next season's Champions League while Lyon in third must negotiate a qualifying round after seeing their staggering run of seven straight titles halted.
Toulouse, Paris Saint Germain, Rennes and Lille are chasing two Europa League places while French Cup winners Guingamp will also be in the competition after winning the all-Britanny final against Rennes earlier this month.
Toulouse can book their European ticket with a home win over Lyon, while the capital club can give outgoing coach Paul Le Guen a fitting farewell by guaranteeing their spot with a win over Monaco at the Parc des Princes.
Rennes are two points back and must beat Marseille, as well as hoping results elsewhere go in their favour while Lille must beat Nancy and hope PSG and Toulouse both slip up.
At the bottom of the table, eight-time champions Nantes have been relegated for the second time in their history and second time in three seasons along with Le Havre.
Fellow fallen giants Saint Etienne are also facing the drop unless they can either better Caen's result against Bordeaux or beat Valenciennes and hope either Sochaux or Le Mans lose against Grenoble and Lorient respectively.
Date created : 2009-05-30