Lyon's title chase goes down to the wire
PARIS, May 11 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon, used to running away with the Ligue 1 title, will have to fight until the final minute of the season in their bid to claim a seventh successive crown.
Not since their first title in 2002 have Lyon had to wait until the final day to seal the championship.
Nine points ahead of second-placed Girondins Bordeaux on March 30, they saw that lead melt to just two points five matches later after a patchy spell.
They are still only two points clear with a match left after they beat Nancy 1-0 on Saturday and Bordeaux stayed in contention with a 2-0 win over Sochaux.
The title will be decided next Saturday when Lyon travel to Auxerre and Bordeaux visit Racing Lens.
Lyon are still in pole position, a much better goal difference meaning they need just a draw. They will also face in Auxerre opponents with nothing to play for, unlike Bordeaux, who can expect a challenge from relegation-threatened Lens.
'We have won nothing yet,' Lyon midfielder Mathieu Bodmer told reporters. 'We saw again that Bordeaux would not give up but our fate remains in our own hands.'
Coach Alain Perrin said looking for a draw would be wrong.
'A point should be enough but we'll play to win,' he said.
It has been a strange season for Lyon. Not as dominant as in previous years, they again failed to make an impact in Europe, leaving the Champions League at the last-16 stage.
They can still, however, make this campaign one to remember with their first league and Cup double to play for. They will face Paris St Germain in the French Cup final on May 24.
They could also end up empty-handed.
Bordeaux, who have failed to sparkle but have performed consistently under the guidance of their new coach, former France defender Laurent Blanc, said they still believed in their chances.
'To push the champions from the last six years all the way is satisfying,' said Blanc.
'Now we'll go to Lens to win. The will to win the title is definitely there. It doesn't entirely depend on us but we'll do our part.'