Ligue 1 preview

Lyon look to get back in title race

December 22, 2009

Olympique Lyon have not given up hope of reclaiming the Ligue 1 title despite trailing leaders Girondins Bordeaux by 10 points, coach Claude Puel said.

The seven-times champions struggled to a 1-1 draw at Monaco on Sunday but they aim to end the year on a high when they host fifth-placed Montpellier on Wednesday (1800).

"We're a long way behind but everything is still to play for," Puel told reporters. "There's another match on Wednesday and we must give it all we have. Then we'll have time to recuperate and will get our injured players back."

Lyon, who will again be without defenders Francois Clerc and Mathieu Bodmer and Brazilian midfielder Ederson, face a struggle to catch Bordeaux, who looked to have taken over as the dominant force in France.

Bordeaux, who won the title in May, are eight points clear of second-placed Olympique Marseille ahead of their visit to Toulouse on Wednesday (2000).

The team from the wine capital have won seven successive games in all competitions, conceding just one goal in an impressive 4-1 victory over Lorient on Saturday.

Marseille, who managed only a 0-0 draw at strugglers St Etienne on Saturday, host seventh-placed Auxerre on Wednesday (1800).

Third-placed Lille, nine points off the pace, have been just as impressive as Bordeaux of late, notching five successive wins ahead of their trip to Nancy on Wednesday (1900).

Inspired by strong performances from young Belgian winger Eden Hazard, the northerners have scored 19 times in their past five matches.

By crushing Le Mans 3-0 on Sunday, Lille became the first side in Ligue 1 to score at least three goals in five consecutive matches since Nantes in the 1978-79 season.

"We're like a Formula One car," Lille coach Rudi Garcia told reporters. "When you find the right set-up, you go very fast. However, a Formula One car is very fragile."