Bordeaux, Lille fight for second spot
PARIS, April 28 (Reuters) - The battle for a place in next season's Champions League is hotting up with Girondins Bordeaux and Lille still vying for second place in Ligue 1.
With three games to play Bordeaux, on 64 points, have a six-point advantage but Lille have a better goal difference.
As a bonus for the Girondins, they will play at home on Sunday against 10th-placed Le Mans who have nothing to win nor to lose any more.
Lille travel on Saturday to RC Lens, who are fifth on 53 points, still eyeing third place which offers a passport to the qualifying stage of the Champions League or, more realistically, fourth place and qualification for the UEFA Cup.
The other teams still in the race are Rennes, Olympique Marseille and AJ Auxerre but the Auxerre v Marseille and Rennes v Paris St Germain fixtures have been rescheduled to Wednesday because Marseille and PSG face each other in Saturday's Cup final.
On Sunday, Olympique Lyon, who have already clinched a record fifth consecutive title, will try to beat the Ligue 1 points record they share with Nantes and Monaco.
The French champions are only one point short of the 79-point mark but they can rely on Sunday's opponents, neighbouring Saint-Etienne, to make their chase as hard as possible.
Saint-Etienne, who ruled French soccer in the 1970s and have won a record 10 league titles, lie 12th.
They have not beaten Lyon since a 3-0 home victory on April 6, 1994, but they always give their all against their neighbours and held them to a goalless draw in December at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
"From the first to the last second, we'll play with total commitment," said Saint-Etienne striker Frederic Piquionne on the club's website.
Lyon captain Claudio Cacapa said: "We have won the title but the pressure will still be on because our supporters keep telling us that if there is one match we are not allowed to lose it's the game against Saint-Etienne at Gerland."
At the bottom of the table, Sochaux, 16th in the 20-team league, travel to bottom Metz needing only one point from their final three outings to avoid relegation to the second division.
A win over Toulouse would also secure 17th-placed Troyes their berth in the top flight and condemn Strasbourg, who host League Cup winners Nancy, Ajaccio and Metz to relegation.