Your comprehensive Ligue 1 guide is here yet again as Robert Bhamber takes you through what is likely to be a key set of fixtures as we come to this season’s climax.
Friday: Reims (7th) vs Marseille (6th) (19:30 GMT)
Week 29 kicks off with a match between two teams tussling for a European spot in Ligue 1. Reims have surprised everyone with their form so far this season, but they have been a bit inconsistent recently, winning three and losing three of their last six games. Hubert Fournier’s side are six points behind St Etienne, who currently sit in fourth, the league’s Europa League qualification position.
While qualifying for European competition would be a major achievement for Reims, it is viewed as a minimum requirement for a club as large in stature as Marseille. Their defeat at home to Nice last week saw them drop down to sixth in the table and another loss this week will result in Reims themselves overtaking Marseille.
– At this stage last season, Reims were sitting just above the relegation zone on goal difference. This season they are 17 points clear of the bottom three.
– Reims are looking to win three home league games in a row for the first time this season.
– Marseille have not dropped below sixth this season.
– Marseille are yet to have a player sent off in the league this season.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Reims scored in injury-time to win 3-2 at the Stade Velodrome.
Saturday: Lille (3rd) vs Nantes (15th) (15:30 GMT)
Lille are looking for a third consecutive win in the league as they welcome Nantes to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Rene Girard’s men eased to a 2-0 win over Montpellier last week and moved four points clear in third due to St Etienne’s loss to Lorient. They will be looking to maintain and possibly extend that gap with a win over Nantes.
The visitors are seven points clear of the relegation zone heading into Week 29 and Michel Der Zakarian will be hoping to secure their position in Ligue 1 for sure with a couple more wins in the coming weeks. They were on course for a win at home to Ajaccio last week only to concede a late equaliser and drop vital points in their bid to move away from the bottom three.
– Lille have the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 18 goals this season.
– They have also kept 17 clean sheets.
– Nantes have gone eight league games without a win, with three draws and five defeats.
– Nantes have lost all five of their away league games in which they have conceded first.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Lille won 1-0 at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
Saturday: Sochaux (19th) vs Lorient (11th) (19:00 GMT)
Sochaux take on Lorient at the Stade Auguste Bonal as they look to move closer to Evian in 17th position. Sochaux lost narrowly away at Monaco last week but Herve Renard will be viewing this as a much more winnable match for his team, against a side sitting in mid-table with nothing much to play for. Sochaux have managed to win their last three home games in the league and making that four could move them level on points with Valenciennes in 18th.
Lorient may be stuck in mid-table with no realistic threat of relegation or chance of qualifying for Europe, but they did pull off a shock last week by defeating Champions League-chasing St Etienne. Christian Gourcuff will be hoping his players can now at least achieve a top-half finish in Ligue 1.
– All five of Sochaux’s league wins this season have come at home.
– Sochaux dropped into the relegation zone in Week 3 and haven’t been out since.
– Lorient have lost all 10 of their away league games in which they have conceded first.
– Lorient have won only one of their last seven league games.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Lorient won 2-1 at the Stade du Moustoir.
Saturday: Ajaccio (20th) vs Guingamp (14th) (19:00 GMT)
It seems if it is now just a matter of when and not if Ajaccio will be relegated from Ligue 1, as they are 15 points from safety with just 10 games left in the season. They did manage to snatch a point away at Nantes last week thanks to a late equaliser from Sigamary Diarra, but it looks like just a matter of time before their relegation to Ligue 2 is confirmed. However, if they are to pull off a truly remarkable recovery, then a home tie against a mid-table side is a good place to start.
Guingamp shot up the table to 13th due to two consecutive wins in Weeks 26 and 27, but last week’s home loss to Evian saw them drop down to 14th. Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side are seven points clear of the relegation zone, so he will be looking for a couple more wins just to secure their place in Ligue 1 next season once and for all.
– Ajaccio have won just two league games all season, at home to Lyon and Rennes.
– They have been bottom of Ligue 1 since Week 19.
– Guingamp have won only one of their last eight league away games.
– They have also only won two of their last 13 league games.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Guingamp won 2-1 at the Stade du Roudourou.
Saturday: Nice (12th) vs Bastia (10th) (19:00 GMT)
Nice take on Bastia at the Allianz Riviera knowing a victory will see them overtake the visitors in Ligue 1. Nice currently have 34 points, three points behind Bastia who sit in the final position in the top half of the table. Claude Puel’s side have a decent record at home, winning eight, drawing two and losing four and they will be hoping for another home win this weekend.
Bastia meanwhile, have run into a patch of bad form, winning just one of their last six league games. A European position now looks highly unlikely for Frederic Hantz’s side, but he will be looking for his men to finish the season where they are now at least, in the top half of the table.
– Nice have taken 26 from a possible 42 points available in home league matches this season.
– Their win over Marseille last week saw them end a winless run of four league games.
– Bastia have won just two away league games in the league this season.
– They have yet to win an away league game this season in which they have conceded the first goal, losing six and drawing two.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Bastia won 1-0 at the Stade Armand Cesari.
Saturday: Rennes (16th) vs Toulouse (9th) (19:00 GMT)
Rennes will be hoping to move further clear of the relegation zone as they host Toulouse at the Stade de la Route de Lorient. A rocky run of form has seen Rennes move to within six points of the bottom three, something that Philippe Montanier will be hoping to rectify quickly. A win over Toulouse would be a start, but the visitors also need the points for themselves.
Toulouse head into Week 29 on 39 points, nine behind St Etienne in fourth. However they are only six points away from fifth position, where they could possibly qualify for the Europa League depending on which teams win the domestic cup competitions. It’s unlikely they will manage to qualify for Europe, but if they put a decent run of form together, then they could at least climb a few places in the table come the end of the season.
– Rennes have lost every home league match this season in which they have conceded the first goal.
– They have won just one of their last five league matches.
– Toulouse have won their last two games in the league, away to Nice and at home to Reims.
– They are unbeaten in their last six away league games.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Rennes hammered Toulouse 5-0 at the Stadium Municipal.
Saturday: Evian (17th) vs Valenciennes (18th) (19:00 GMT)
Evian take on Valenciennes at the Parc des Sports in a crucial meeting between two teams near the bottom of Ligue 1. Evian are five points clear of the relegation zone, sitting one place above Valenciennes in 17th. A win for the home side will extend that gap to eight points and give Pascal Dupraz’s side some breathing space between themselves and the bottom three.
Valenciennes however, will see this as a major chance to claw themselves closer to safety. Ariel Jacobs will be hoping his side can win two league games in a row for only the second time this season after last week’s 2-1 win over Rennes. Whichever team wins this match will put themselves in a great position to save themselves from relegation come the end of the season, while Sochaux and Ajaccio fans will be desperately hoping for a draw with both teams dropping points.
– Evian have won their last two league games, at home against Nantes and away against Guingamp.
– They are also unbeaten in their last three home league matches.
– Valenciennes are yet to win an away league match this season in which they have conceded the first goal.
– They have also lost all of their last four league away games.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Evian won 1-0 at the Stade du Hainaut.
Sunday: Montpellier (13th) vs Bordeaux (8th) (13:00 GMT)
Montpellier host Bordeaux at the Stade de la Mosson on Sunday as they look to damage the visitors’ aspirations of a European qualification place. The home side are currently eight points clear of the relegation zone and will be looking for a win in this match after a couple of tough away fixtures against Lyon (0-0 draw) and Lille (2-0 loss) in the last couple of weeks.
Bordeaux won’t be easy opponents though, as they still have hopes of playing European football next season. Bordeaux are currently eight points behind St Etienne in fourth, but they will be looking to close that gap with a win over Montpellier this weekend, especially because they have lost their last two league games.
– Montpellier have only spent one week in the top half of the table this season, after Week 9’s 5-1 win over Lyon.
– Montpellier are unbeaten in their last four league home games.
– Bordeaux have lost each of their last four league away games.
– They have won only two away league games all season, at Nice and Guingamp.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Bordeaux won 2-0 at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
Sunday: Lyon (5th) vs Monaco (2nd) (16:00 GMT)
Lyon face off against Monaco in a match in a crucial match at the top end of Ligue 1. Lyon are heading into the match full of confidence after achieving two great results in the past week. They trailed 1-0 at Bordeaux in stoppage time last Sunday, only to score twice in the dying seconds to secure a remarkable comeback, before following this up with a comfortable 4-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Monaco know that winning this match is vital as they sit eight points behind league leaders PSG. If they are to stand any chance of overhauling the capital club at the summit of Ligue 1, then Claudio Ranieri knows his team can’t afford to drop virtually any points at all in their last ten league games, starting this Sunday at the Stade de Gerland.
– Lyon have lost just one of their last 13 league games, winning seven and drawing five.
– Lyon have lost only one home league game so far this season, a 1-0 loss to Reims in Week 3.
– Monaco have not dropped below fourth position this season.
– They have lost just one of their last nine Ligue 1 matches.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, Monaco won 2-1 at the Stade Louis II.
Sunday: PSG (1st) vs St Etienne (4th) (20:00 GMT)
Week 29 closes with another massive fixture concerning the top of Ligue 1, as Champions League chasing St Etienne visit the home of the champions and current league leaders, the Parc des Princes. If PSG needed any warning heading into this match, they need to look back no further than two weeks ago, when St Etienne pulled off a 2-1 victory over Monaco. The visitors also managed a 2-1 win over PSG at the Parc des Princes last season, something that the home side will be looking to avenge on Sunday.
The hosts are eight points clear of second-placed Monaco heading into the weekend, but they may have the opportunity to extend that gap even further with Monaco facing a tough looking fixture away at Lyon earlier in the day. St Etienne, meanwhile, will be looking for another big win in order to close the four point gap between themselves and third-placed Lille.
– PSG have lost just one of their last 39 league matches, away at Evian in Week 16 of this season.
– They are the only team in Ligue 1 yet to lose at home this season.
– St Etienne have lost just two of their last 12 league matches.
– They have won all five away league games this season in which they have scored first.
– In the reverse fixture in Week 11, St Etienne held PSG to a 2-2 draw at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.