PARIS, April 24 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon have quickly hit their stride this season which is bad news for strugglers Nice who host the champions on Saturday.
A 2-1 away win at Girondins Bordeaux last weekend put Lyon on seven points, joining Olympique Marseille and Le Mans, who face each other on Sunday, as the early pacesetters.
'We badly needed to win in Bordeaux and we deserved to win even if it was a bit difficult for us in the second half. Let's hope we can keep the rhythm on Saturday,' said Lyon coach Gerard Houllier.
Lille and Girondins Bordeaux test their Champions League credentials when they face each other on Saturday.
Like Bordeaux, who qualified for the Champions League as last season's Ligue 1 runners-up, Lille are one point adrift of Lyon after suffering a first defeat this season at Paris Saint-Germain.
Lille secured their place in the Champions League group stage with a 1-0 away win (4-0 on aggregate) at Rabotnicki Skopje.
'We are growing up,' said Lille coach Claude Puel. 'I'm glad that our 3-0 win over Skopje in the first leg enabled us to spare some key players because the match against Bordeaux will be as hard as a Champions League game.'
Also on six points, Nancy and Saint-Etienne will host AJ Auxerre and Racing Lens respectively on Sunday.
Monaco and Rennes, who prop up the standings along with Nice, aim for their first wins of the season against newly promoted Sedan and Valenciennes.