5 things to know about the French League
May. 08, 2014
PARIS (AP) — French champion Paris Saint-Germain can break the record for most points in a French league season when it visits Lille on Saturday. PSG clinched the title on Wednesday despite losing 2-1 to Rennes, as Guingamp drew 1-1 with second-place Monaco. Guingamp earned a precious point as it is neck and neck with Evian and Sochaux in the battle for safety.
Here are five things to know about Saturday's games:
CHASING A RECORD
PSG coach Laurent Blanc has led the club to success in the league and the League Cup this season. But he still has one goal on his mind with just two rounds left.
"I hope we will take a few more points by the end of the season to break the record of points in the league," Blanc said.
PSG is one point away from Lyon's record of 84 set in 2005-06.
Third-place Lille is five points clear of Saint-Etienne but has not locked up the last Champions League berth yet.
Although Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said this week that his players will start training for next season on July 2, there's a lot of uncertainty over his own future at the club.
"I think I will meet my bosses at the end of the season," Ranieri said.
Ranieri has a year left on his contract at the club, which is owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. He helped Monaco gain promotion a year ago and secure a Champions League spot this season.
"I don't know how much money the club wants to spend," Ranieri said. "We must hire four or five players to be competitive in the Champions League. It's a different story if we want to keep on developing the young players. We will have to act according to the president's wishes."
Monaco travels to Valenciennes this weekend.
Marseille made up ground in the race for the last Europa League spot by defeating Lyon 4-2 last Sunday. However, Lyon still sits in fifth place, two points clear of Marseille.
"We still have our fate in our hands," Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis said. "But it's true that Marseille is coming back strong and putting us under pressure. Let's not waste what we have done this season."
Lyon hosts Lorient while Marseille visits Bordeaux. The French club finishing fifth qualifies for the preliminary round of Europe's second-tier competition.
WORLD CUP AMBITIONS
Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette hopes to make a good impression this weekend before France coach Didier Deschamps names his provisional squad for the World Cup on Tuesday.
Lacazette has scored 15 league goals this season. He last played for France in a 3-0 loss to Brazil in a friendly last June.
Meanwhile, Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena is virtually guaranteed a roster spot despite an average season with his club.
"Of course, I'm impatient. I think about it everyday," Valbuena told the club's website.
Valbuena promised to run naked on the Champs Elysees if France wins the World Cup.
THE GREAT ESCAPE?
Sochaux had very little hope of escaping relegation when it was eight points from safety after 32 rounds. But three victories and a draw have pulled Sochaux within a point of 17th-place Evian.
"We don't want to get carried away because we know things can change quickly," Sochaux winger Sebastien Corchia said. "We'll be safe if we win our two remaining matches. It's up to us to do our best to make it happen."
Sochaux visits Rennes before hosting Evian in the last round.