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The Toe Poke
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By ESPN Staff

Ligue 1: Lyon face tough Bordeaux test

PARIS, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Five times French Champions Olympique Lyon face their first real test of the season this weekend at runners-up Girondins Bordeaux.

Bordeaux are joint leaders of Ligue 1 with Lille and promoted Nancy, on six points from two wins in two matches.

Lyon are two points adrift after being held to a a 1-1 draw at home by Toulouse last Sunday.

'We have to be fair, we didn't deserve to win. We were not at our usual level. Our attacking game was too slow and defensively we let them take the upper hand,' said Lyon's coach Gerard Houllier.

'This bad experience will give us extra motivation. We shall not lose in Bordeaux,' he added.

More than any other team in the French championship, Lyon's league preparations have been affected by the World Cup.

Brazil's Cris and Juninho, Switzerland's Patrick Mueller, Portugal's Tiago and France's Gregory Coupet, Eric Abidal, Sidney Govou, Florent Malouda and Sylvain Wiltord were allowed to delay their return to training.

Six of their players, Coupet, Abidal, Malouda, Wiltord, Vincent Clerc and Jeremy Toulalan were members of France's squad who defeated Bosnia 2-1 in a friendly on Wednesday in Sarajevo.

Lyon chartered a plane to bring them home on Wednesday evening to increase their chances of starting Sunday's match.

Girondins Bordeaux young midfielders Julien Faubert, scorer of the winning goal, and Rio Mavuba also played in Sarajevo.

The match will be played at a packed Jacques Chaban-Delmas stadium. Bordeaux are regarded as the team most likely to end Lyon's five-year reign in the French championship.

Reinforced by the return of former Werder Bremen playmaker Johan Micoud, the Girondins made a perfect start to the season with wins at home against Toulouse and at Lorient.

Lille, who are in the race for a Champions League berth through the third qualifying round, travel on Saturday to Paris St Germain who are looking for their first win of the season. Nancy, the surprise third joint leaders, host another promoted team, Sedan.

Olympique Marseille host AJ Auxerre while Stade Rennes and Monaco, the only two teams still without a point face each other.