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Bordeaux at Auxerre ahead of Champions League
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Updated May 21, 2014 6:59 PM ET
Following the team's first loss this season, defending French league champion Bordeaux is looking to bounce back when it travels to Auxerre on Saturday ahead of next week's Champions League match against Bayern Munich.
Bordeaux lost at Saint-Etienne 3-1 in the previous round and was knocked off its perch at the top of the standings by seven-time champion Lyon. Second in Group A in the Champions League with four points, Bordeaux next welcomes Bayern on Wednesday with a possibility of moving ahead of the German club. "I think there was a lot of fatigue in Saint-Etienne," Bordeaux midfielder Geraldo Wendel said. "Consecutive games against Rennes then Maccabi Haifa in Champions League took a lot of energy from us. And we missed that energy at Saint-Etienne. But we are still in second place and still in the race. We will try to bring three points from our trip at Auxerre." Bordeaux welcomed Yoann Gourcuff back to training this week after the France playmaker sustained a left thigh injury against Maccabi Haifa last month. The former AC Milan player, who missed only one game this season -the 3-1 loss at Saint-Etienne- is expected to gradually work harder at training and could be back at Auxerre even if a date for his return hasn't been set by his club. Gourcuff, who scored four goals and set up two more in seven league games, was a key element in Bordeaux's run to the title last season, when the team put an end to Lyon's domination. His club's chances to beat Bayern would be seriously hampered if the 23-year-old player was to miss Wednesday's game. Before hosting Sochaux, Lyon leads the standings with 20 points, one more than Bordeaux. Lyon is the only team still unbeaten in the league. "It's always nice to be in first place in your league," Lyon defender Aly Cissokho said. "It does mean something. Our start to the season has been satisfying." Lyon's €70 million ($104 million) spending spree this offseason has been fruitful with the likes of Argentina striker Lisandro Lopez, Brazilian midfielder Michel Bastos and France forward Bafetimbi Gomis quickly gelling with the rest of the team. Lyon is on a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions this season and has the best league's defense with only five goals conceded so far. Lyon travels to Liverpool next Tuesday in Champions League. Standing in 14th place, Sochaux will be without United States striker Charlie Davies, who suffered multiple fractures in a car accident ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica this week. Davies is likely to be out for the rest of the season. "Above and beyond the sporting loss due to Davies' absence, the FC Sochaux-Montbeliard would like to express its shock and send its best wishes to its player and family, as well as sincere condolences to the family of the person that lost their life in the accident," Sochaux said in a statement. Davies had played all eight of Sochaux's league matches this season, scoring twice.
Having ended Bordeaux's 22-match unbeaten run, Saint-Etienne travels to promoted Montpellier, which will try to maintain its third place in the standings following a superb start to the season made of excellent one-touch football. But the southern team's coach, Rene Girard, won't let his players get carried away. "The fact we are third (for the first time since 1992) is irrelevant," Girard said. "We want to keep doing well and we'll see what happens. Our objective is to be among the elite again next season." Fourth-place Monaco will host struggling Lens on Sunday, while Marseille will try to secure its first win in four games at Nancy. Marseille has lost three consecutive games, including a 3-0 loss at Real Madrid in Champions League, and is on the verge of a new crisis. Also Saturday, it's: Le Mans vs. Boulogne; Valenciennes vs. Grenoble; and Lille vs. Rennes. Lorient hosts Nice and Paris Saint-Germain plays at Toulouse on Sunday.