Last chance in race for Europe

Saturday represents the last-chance saloon for both Marseille and Sochaux and their contrasting Ligue 1 ambitions.

OM are preparing for next season under a new coach - widely expected to be former Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao chief Marcelo Bielsa - but will have to beat Lyon if they are to retain hope of giving him European football to look forward to. Lyon go into the game with a five-point advantage over their opponents in fifth place and only two behind fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, who host Montpellier.

Defender Henri Bedimo retains hope of catching Les Verts, and told his club's website: "The main objective is fourth place. That would allow us to play one round less (in UEFA Europa League qualifying)."

Sporting director Jose Anigo, in temporary charge of Marseille, said of the game: "You can look at it like that, that's it's the final chance to keep hope of qualifying, even if it's small."

Sochaux, in contrast, need three points against Nice to remain in touch with the teams above the relegation zone. With three games remaining, Herve Renard's side are four points behind 17th-placed Evian, who take on Reims, and also Guingamp.

The latter are not in league action this weekend, instead contesting the Coupe de France final against Rennes, two points better off and still in the relegation mix. The two finalists' respective games against second-placed Monaco and leaders Paris Saint-Germain will be played on Wednesday.

Sochaux's resurgence since Renard replaced Eric Hely has been striking and their home record provides particular encouragement. As well as Nice, Evian also have to come to the Stade Auguste-Bonal, where Sochaux's last seven games have brought five wins along with draws against Marseille and PSG.

Evian are aware of the importance of their game, defender Cedric Mongongu telling their official website: "We need to get a result against Reims. Before hosting Nice, we need at least a point but it would be good to take three. Sochaux are there, we no longer have much choice."

Valenciennes are as good as relegated, nine points behind Evian in 19th, and host seventh-placed Bordeaux seeking simply to delay the inevitable.

Ajaccio, rock bottom and relegated, travel to Lorient while Toulouse host Nantes, with third-placed Lille in Friday-night action at Bastia.