Olympique Lyon's chances to hold on to their Ligue 1 crown could depend heavily on the outcome of Sunday's clash at fellow title contenders Girondins Bordeaux (1900 GMT).
The seven-times French champions had been in the lead for seven months when a 2-2 home draw with Monaco last weekend sent them down to second place, one point behind new leaders Olympique Marseille and one ahead of third-placed Bordeaux.
There are seven matches left and a lot still to play for but Lyon realise, however, that losing to one of their rivals for the title on Sunday would seriously hurt their hopes.
"There are plenty of matches left but we absolutely need to perform well against other sides in contention for the title," Lyon coach Claude Puel told reporters ahead of the visit to the wine capital.
Lyon can rely on their experience of important matches in their quest for an eighth consecutive title but might struggle against Bordeaux, who have looked more impressive than the champions lately.
"If Bordeaux were to beat Lyon, they would become a serious bet for the title," Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez told reporters after his side lost 2-0 at home to Bordeaux last weekend.
"If you look at the last matches, Bordeaux looked stronger and better organised than Lyon," he added.
The final sprint promises to be exciting with Toulouse, Lille and Paris St Germain all five points off leaders Marseille, and only three behind Bordeaux.
Marseille, chasing their first title since winning the Champions League in 1993, will visit mid-table Lorient on Sunday while PSG will host bottom club Le Havre (1500 GMT).
Toulouse and Lille will both be in action on Saturday, away to Grenoble (1700 GMT) and St Etienne (1900 GMT) respectively.
There was good news for Lyon this week with France forward Sidney Govou resuming training four months after rupturing his right Achilles tendon.
Govou had reassuring words for his team mates, pointing out that they had showed character by twice fighting back from a goal down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Monaco.
"Against Monaco, I saw determination and good things," Govou told French sports daily L'Equipe. "Of course we need to be worried but even if Bordeaux, Marseille and Lille have impressed me lately, I still believe we will be the champions."