Lille one point from League-cup double
Lille needs only one point from Saturday’s match against Paris Saint-Germain to guarantee winning its first French title since 1954 and its first double since 1946.
Second-place Marseille trails Lille by six points with two matches remaining and has a worse goal difference. Marseille’s thin title hopes will be over if it fails to beat Valenciennes at home.
Lille hopes to be celebrating on Saturday night, but fourth-place PSG must beat Lille at home to stay in contention for third and a place in the Champions League qualifying round.
Sealing the title at Parc des Princes would be a particularly sweet moment for Lille goalkeeper Mickael Landreau, who had an unhappy three-year spell at PSG.
"We’ve taken a big step toward the title. We’re getting closer but we’re not there yet," Landreau said. "Imagine if Marseille beat Valenciennes 3-0 and we lose in Paris, the gap will be reduced. But I would obviously rather be in our position than Marseille’s."
Lille defender Aurelien Chedjou thinks the team has already shown it can handle pressure, having beaten PSG 1-0 in a tense French Cup final last weekend.
"I think we have gained in maturity this season. It’s up to us to show that in the last matches," Chedjou said.
PSG has been dropping points and is now two behind third-place Lyon, which has a seemingly easier game against Caen on Saturday.
Both will then have away matches the following weekend, with PSG at Saint-Etienne and Lyon at Monaco, which is fighting against relegation.
PSG’s players had better beat Lille if they want to avoid another dressing down from president Robin Leproux, who tore into them following the surprise 1-0 loss at Bordeaux on Wednesday.
"There was no desire, no impact. I would almost say it wasn’t serious," Leproux said. "You have to go out onto the pitch with a certain spirit, you have to be hungry. I really think they haven’t understood that. They didn’t live up to the occasion. We’ll sort this out among ourselves."
PSG has not played in the Champions League since the 2003-04 season, and Leproux had pledged to give coach Antoine Kombouare the funds to strengthen the team next season – providing it reaches the Champions League.
PSG could even drop into fifth place after this weekend as it is only two points ahead of Rennes, which hosts Nancy on Saturday.
"We’re not going to ruin the end of the season," Leproux said. "We have to beat Lille and Saint-Etienne. But the ball is no longer in our court."
Lyon could have Argentina striker Lisandro Lopez back in the team against Caen as he is recovering well from a right hamstring injury. But coach Claude Puel will be without striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who sprained his right knee in the 1-1 draw at Brest on Monday.
At the foot of the table, one more team will join relegated Lens and Arles-Avignon in the second division next season.
Monaco is in 18th place with 41 points, Nancy is one point ahead in 17th, while Nice and Brest are two points clear of Monaco.
Monaco faces a hard match away to Montpellier, Nice hosts Lorient, and Brest is at Auxerre.
In Saturday’s other matches, it is: Lens vs. Arles-Avignon; Sochaux vs. Saint-Etienne, and Toulouse vs. Bordeaux.