Top meets bottom in France on Wednesday, with league leaders Bordeaux travelling to apparently doomed Grenoble on the back of their 1-1 draw at home to title rivals Marseille at the weekend.
In-form Lille, second, will look to extend their winning run in all competitions to nine games when they visit 15th-ranked Sochaux, while third-placed Montpellier travel to fellow promoted side Lens. Bordeaux will face the league's bottom club without goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso and centre-back Marc Planus after both failed to finish Sunday's game with Marseille - Carrasso due to an ankle injury and Planus because of a red card. Youngster Lamine Sane is expected to deputise for the suspended Planus, with veteran Ulrich Rame continuing in place of Carrasso.
Grenoble, who are 12 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, could call upon Togolese midfielder Alaixys Romao after he returned from the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Angola following the terrorist attack on the Togo squad. Bordeaux skipper Alou Diarra says that his side are well aware of the threats posed by their title challengers.
"We know that Lille are a very good team, one of the best in the league, and it doesn't surprise me much to see them in this position," he said. "They won't give anything up until the end, they're potential candidates for the title. And it's nice to see the gap between us and Marseille, we have a big enough lead to really go for it."
Marseille, who remain 11 points behind Bordeaux in fourth place but still have a game in hand, host third-bottom Le Mans. Argentina left-back Gabriel Heinze misses out with a thigh injury sustained against Bordeaux and coach Didier Deschamps must choose between Garry Bocaly, right-back Laurent Bonnart or the fit again Cyril Rool to take his place. "I'm losing an important player," said Deschamps, who could be without the former Real Madrid man for up to four weeks.
Lyon got their campaign back on track by winning 2-0 at Nancy on Saturday but they, like Marseille, are 11 points off the leaders' pace and face a taxing trip to eighth-placed Lorient. "Lorient have started the year really well," said Lyon coach Claude Puel, who added that new €8 million signing Dejan Lovren is not yet fit enough to feature. "It will be a difficult match. They caused us lots of problems in the return fixture (a 1-0 win for Lyon on 12 September)."
Paris Saint-Germain, 10th after a 3-1 defeat at Lille, host sixth-placed Monaco, with Auxerre travelling to Nice, Toulouse taking on Nancy and imperilled Boulogne, who are second from bottom, facing Valenciennes. Tuesday's match sees Saint-Etienne take on Rennes, with the hosts buoyant after a 2-1 victory at Grenoble on Saturday that lifted them three points clear of the relegation zone.