Lyon look to derby win
© AFP

Lyon may be rubbing shoulders with Europe's finest in the UEFA Champions League, but it's back to French first division reality this weekend with a tough derby match against Saint Etienne.

The defending league champions were drawn with Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Steaua Bucharest in Europe's richest club tournment midweek, yet it was their local rivals who were occupying the Lyon players' minds.

Derbies are always good to play in, the preparation is a little special
Lyon midfielder Ederson on the upcoming derby against Saint Etienne

"," said Lyon's star Brazilian midfielder Ederson. "We are going to Saint Etienne to play and try to win. The two teams will be motivated," the 22-year-old added.

Thirteen league places may separate the two teams after Saint Etienne's poor start to the campaign, but Ederson thinks that will only add to their hunger for a derby victory. "We will have to be careful against the greens because the have not had a good start to the season."

Lyon, seven-time winners of the French first division, sit second in the table behind early flyers Marseille, with rising star Karim Benzema and summer signing Jean Makoun scoring all of the club's five goals so far. "I think the team has made great progress, it is important to preserve this stability," Ederson added.

Lyon are without suspended Fabio Grosso while Francois Clerc is out for six months, meaning Jean-Alain Boumsong could be called to step up for the match which could see the club go back to the top of the league.

Down to earth
Stability is certainly what league leaders Marseille have shown so far with an impressive nine goals and two wins and a berth in the Champions League after a 2-1 win over Norwegian side Brann.

Marseille coach Eric Gerets admitted he had a job on his hands to bring his players back down to earth and concentrate on domestic matters with a potentially diffcult visit of FC Sochaux. "I'm not worried, we have to get over this (tiredness). If there is one game I don't want to lose it's this one on Saturday," said the wily Belgian, who knows his team cannot afford to drop points at this stage. Marseille will be without suspended Ronald Zubar, while his understudy Elamin Erbati is doubtful.

Mood in the capital is tense after Paris St Germain stuttered to a 1-1 draw away to FC Sochaux last weekend, with new signing Stephane Sessegnon grabbing the all-important goal. "We feel the team is getting stronger. It's not perfect but we are working hard to maximise our form," said the former Le Mans player.

Signs are good for the club ahead of the game against Caen after Serbian star Mateja Kezman made good headway on his debut.