Lyon eye title, Paris SG face relegation

Saturday could prove decisive for two of Ligue 1's key teams, currently sitting at opposite ends of the table. A win in Nice could hand Olympique de Lyon the title, while Paris Saint-Germain must win if they are to stay in France's first division.


Title-chasing Bordeaux will be praying for Nice to ditch their poor recent form and help keep their championship hopes alive by beating leaders Lyon on Saturday.

Bordeaux travel to Marseille on Sunday knowing if they fail to claim all three points at the Velodrome - and Lyon beat Nice 24 hours earlier - their title hopes will be over.

Such a scenario would leave Alain Perrin's league leaders with 75 points, seven ahead of Bordeaux (68) with two games remaining, enough to virtually hand Lyon their seventh consecutive crown.

Bordeaux have been clipping at Lyon's heels all season, but last week, after Lyon dropped points in a 2-2 draw to Caen, Laurent Blanc's side promptly dropped two points of their own in a scoreless home draw with Nice.

Lyon keeper Gregory Coupet was sporting enough to suggest it's been a tight battle this season.

"Every year Lyon has been the team to beat. We've been the hunter, and right now we're the hunted - by Bordeaux," said Coupet, France's international goalkeeper.

Nice's scoreless draw at Bordeaux was hugely positive given they have taken only five from a possible 18 points in their last six outings.

To the anticipated delight of their fans, and to those of Bordeaux, the Cote d'Azur club are expected to put up a mighty performance against the reigning champions at home on Saturday.

Lyon have spent the last week at a training camp in Evian, but will travel to the Riviera with influential defensive midfielder Jeremy Toulalan (knee) doubtful and left-backs Anthony Reveillere and Fabio Grosso both suspended.

Nevertheless Coupet warned: "We know Nice well, and how much of a fight they can put up. But there's no quesiton of us losing our focus."

Elsewhere Saturday, the chance of winning titles will be far from the mind of former Marseille marksman Jean-Pierre Papin as he continues his fight to keep Lens in the top flight.

The possible relegation of Paris St Germain - who face Toulouse in another league cruncher on Sunday - has dominated headlines in France but the 'Red and Gold' have endured a topsy-turvy season of their own.

Lens are currently fourth from bottom and only one place above PSG thanks to superior goal difference.

Their three remaining matches - at home to Monaco, away to Lille then at home to Bordeaux - are against teams not involved in the relegation battle and thus giving them a theoretical advantage.

"We're really the only team (from those threatened with relegation) with our destiny in our hands," said Lens president Gervais Martel.

On Sunday PSG travel to fellow strugglers Toulouse, who like Lens and their Parisian rivals have 38 points but sit one place above PSG on goal difference.

PSG's infuential midfielder Jerome Rothen is uncertain, due to a calf injury, against opponents who are also fighting for their survival.

Anything less than a win for Paul Le Guen's capital side, who gave themselves a lifeline with a 3-1 win against Auxerre last week, would spell disaster.


Auxerre v Valenciennes, Caen v Rennes, Lens v Monaco, Lorient v Le Mans, Nancy v Strasbourg, Nice v Lyon, Saint-Etienne v Lille, Sochaux v Metz


Toulouse v Paris SG, Marseille v Bordeaux

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