Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping to build on the momentum of its win over Boulogne when it travels to leader Bordeaux on Saturday in the French league.
Following a disappointing spell this autumn capped by a loss at Marseille, PSG bounced back with consecutive wins over third-place Auxerre and Boulogne, with the Parisian side securing its biggest victory this season by defeating the promoted side 5-2 Wednesday.
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PSG moved into seventh place with 22 points in its bid for a European spot, six points behind defending champion Bordeaux.
“The win boosts our confidence ahead of Saturday’s game at Bordeaux,” PSG striker Mevlut Erding said after scoring twice against Boulogne. “The objective was to take six points off Auxerre and Boulogne and it’s mission accomplished. Now we’re looking to take at least a point from our trip to Bordeaux.”
After a difficult opening spell at Boulogne, PSG finally turned the game around after coach Antoine Kombouare replaced Ludovic Giuly with Peguy Luyindula early in the second half.
“Finally we have two consecutive wins and it’s the best way to prepare for Bordeaux,” Kombouare said. “It gives us hope and confidence. Some players have found their marks again but Bordeaux aren’t Boulogne. We’ll go there with more confidence but against the French champions it will be difficult. I remain wary.”
PSG’s players had a light training session Thursday and the team is expected to play at Bordeaux with defender Mamadou Sakho, who recovered following a severe headache.
Bordeaux is in top form, having qualified for the knockout round of the Champions League by finishing first in its group and recaptured the lead in the French league despite Johan Gourcuff’s absence through an adductor injury.
The 23-year-old France playmaker, who has not played for his club since a 2-0 loss to Lille on Nov. 8, trained with his teammates earlier this week and is likely to return against PSG.
Also Saturday, it’s: Montpellier vs. Le Mans; Nice vs. Marseille; Rennes vs. Lorient; Saint-Etienne vs. Sochaux; and Valenciennes vs. Monaco.
Eighth-place Marseille will travel to Nice focused on the league even if it has still a chance of reaching the Champions League’s second round with a win over Real Madrid next week.
“We must first concentrate on Saturday’s game,” Marseille coach Didier Deschamps said. “The match against Madrid will be a gala game but the championship is our first priority and we can’t afford defeats anymore.”
While Bordeaux’s impressive form has transformed the team into a Champions League contender, Lyon will try to end a five-game winless streak in all competitions at Lille on Sunday.
Lyon drew four times in November and lost a Champions League game to Fiorentina.
“We can’t close our eyes and pretend our bad run hasn’t happened,” Lyon midfielder Jean II Makoun said. “Some players have been inconsistent, especially in the league and at times we haven’t played to our true level, both collectively and as individuals. We can’t afford that. Sometimes we’ve played with the handbrake on and we haven’t put in the effort together.”
Level on points with Lyon but trailing on goal difference, Auxerre will host Nancy hoping to rebound after a loss at PSG that ended a run of seven consecutive wins. Lens plays at Boulogne while Toulouse travels to Grenoble in Sunday’s other matches.