French first division front-runners Bordeaux and Lyon were both left to count the cost of victory in the UEFA Champions League ahead of this weekend's matches in Ligue 1.
League leaders and reigning champions Bordeaux lost talismanic playmaker Yoann Gourcuff to a thigh problem during their hard-earned 1-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa, while Lyon's injury-plagued squad was further stretched during their 4-0 victory at Hungarian champions Debrecen.
Gourcuff overcame a different thigh injury to feature in Bordeaux's 1-0 home victory over Rennes last weekend but came off at half-time during the game against Maccabi and will miss the trip to struggling St Etienne on Saturday.
"He has a muscle strain behind his left thigh," said Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc, whose side are two points clear of Lyon at the top of the table. "He will take some time off. It will do him good."
Gourcuff was the undisputed star of the French top tier last season and he has hit the ground running in 2009/10, scoring four goals and providing two assists in his seven matches to date. His absence is likely to be keenly felt against St Etienne, who lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Monaco last weekend after a slow start to the campaign.
Lyon are on a fine run of form, unbeaten in all competitions and three points clear of Liverpool and Fiorentina in their UEFA Champions League group. They travel to newly promoted Lens on Saturday evening. Claude Puel's outfit remained on Bordeaux's tail by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Toulouse last weekend and they raced into a 3-0 lead at Debrecen inside the opening 24 minutes thanks to three set-pieces.
"I'm not surprised that my side scores a lot from set-pieces," said Puel, who was without summer signings Michel Bastos and Lisandro Lopez as well as defenders Mathieu Bodmer and Jean-Alain Boumsong in Budapest. "We're on a roll at the moment and we need to keep it going, but the next match, against Lens, won't be easy. The win makes things easier for us but still we're in a bit of a tight spot with some key injuries."
While Lyon and Bordeaux have made promising starts to their UEFA Champions League campaigns, Marseille's chances of progressing to the knockout phase already look distant after they sank to a second successive group defeat at Real Madrid on Wednesday.
"We have to put this defeat behind us right now and focus on Sunday's league match," said coach Didier Deschamps, whose men lost 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, having gone down 2-1 at home to Milan in their group opener.
The Mediterranean club, who are five points behind Bordeaux in third place, host neighbours Monaco in Sunday's late game. Fourth-placed Montpellier, promoted from Ligue 2 last season, will look to continue their superb start to the season when they travel to rock-bottom Grenoble on Saturday, while Paris St Germain, sixth, are targeting a first win in four matches at home to Nancy.