Marseille and PSG face pressure in Ligue 1
PARIS, April 24 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille and Paris St Germain will be under the spotlight when Champions League and relegation battles hot up at either end of Ligue 1 this weekend.
A far cry from their 1990s heyday, PSG are under threat of going down for the first time since they were promoted to the first division in 1974, four years after they were founded.
With bottom team Metz already relegated, PSG lie 18th in the standings, ahead of Racing Strasbourg on goal difference and three points adrift of Racing Lens, the first club above the drop zone, and Toulouse with four games to go.
Strasbourg, Lens and Toulouse travel to Stade Rennes, Le Mans and Lille respectively on Saturday (all 1800 GMT) but attention will focus on the Parc des Princes where PSG, whose chairman Alain Cayzac resigned on Monday, host AJ Auxerre (1510).
One of the question marks hanging over the game is the reaction of the players, accused by Cayzac of being 'gripped by fear'.
Another is the behaviour of the group of hard core supporters who painted graffiti claiming 'If we go down, we'll shoot you down' and 'PSG in Ligue 2 = Riots' on the walls of the team's training base after last weekend's 3-0 defeat at Caen.
At the top end of the table, Nancy, third on 56 points, and Marseille, fourth on 55, will resume their duel for a place in the Champions League third qualifying round.
Leaders Olympique Lyon, who have 71 points, and second-placed Girondins Bordeaux, second on 67, occupy the two automatic Champions League berths.
Former European champions Marseille do not hold their destiny in their own hands after their home defeat by Lille and Nancy's draw at Le Mans last weekend.
'I told the players that (loss) was a real false note and that to snatch third place, which is still our target, we must now win our last four games,' chairman Pape Diouf told reporters.
Marseille and Nancy are both away this Sunday at Monaco (1855) and Valenciennes (1600), two sides with nothing much to win or lose.
Lyon and Bordeaux are both at home to mid-table opponents on Saturday (1800). The champions play Caen while Bordeaux, who are looking to deny Lyon a record seventh consecutive title, take on Nice.