Marseille seek morale boost before Liverpool test
PARIS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille will chase their first Ligue 1 victory at Girondins Bordeaux in nearly 31 years on Saturday as well as a morale boost before hosting Liverpool in the Champions League three days later.
Leaders Marseille, one of two teams undefeated four games into the season with champions Olympique Lyon, have not won a league match at Bordeaux since a 2-1 victory in 1977.
"This is our first big test of the season," defender Ronald Zubar told Marseille's website. "We've been waiting for a win there for 31 years and that's a very long time. We'll go there determined to end a long wait."
Runners-up last season, Bordeaux have failed to live up to expectations so far and lie seventh, four points off the pace, having lost twice already.
Marseille might be without France forward Hatem Ben Arfa, who hurt his left knee in training this week. Coach Eric Gerets was expected to rest Ben Arfa on Saturday and save him for their Champions League opener against Liverpool on Tuesday.
Former European champions Marseille met Liverpool in the group stage last season, winning 1-0 at Anfield before being thrashed 4-0 at home.
"Against Bordeaux and then Liverpool we have two matches that promise to be very intense but we're ready for that," midfielder Mathieu Valbuena told reporters.
Lyon, second to Marseille on goal difference, could be tested on Saturday when they host surprise package Nice, in fourth position just one point off the pace.
The seven times champions face a month without Italy left-back Fabio Grosso, who fractured two ribs in a World Cup qualifier against Cyprus on Saturday.
"To have to make do without such an experienced player is a problem," said Lyon coach Claude Puel.
Bottom side Nantes, who have a new coach in Elie Baup, will be chasing their first win since returning to the top flight when they visit Paris St Germain on Sunday.
PSG, who narrowly escaped relegation last season, have reinforced their squad with former France midfielders Claude Makelele and Ludovic Giuly and have not started too badly. They are in sixth place, three points off the leaders.