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Saturday, 20 December 2014, 19:00

French Ligue 1

Ligue 1 weekend preview

Marseille president Vincent Labrune has reacted with fury after his club's supporters were banned from travelling to Sunday's hugely important Ligue 1 clash at south-coast rivals Nice.

Last Updated: 29/03/13 at 08:34 Post Comment

Vincent Labrune: Unhappy with supporter ban

Vincent Labrune: Unhappy with supporter ban

Marseille also lodged complaints in court in an attempt to overturn the decision which was made by France's interior ministry on the basis of a perceived potential for trouble.

With the season nearing its conclusion, third-placed Marseille retain slim hopes of landing the league title but more realistically are looking to pin down a top-three finish to have a shot at the Champions League next season.

Fifth-placed Nice trail Marseille by only three points, making the derby match one of the most keenly awaited in recent years.

On learning his club's fans would be forced to stay away, Labrune said: "This decision is grotesque and incomprehensible."

Leaders Paris St Germain on Friday face last season's champions Montpellier at the Parc des Princes, in the opening match of the weekend.

PSG will be seeking to stretch their five-point lead over second-placed Lyon, but wary that seventh-placed Montpellier remain an able side, and one which will be looking to remind this season's front-runners of their past achievements.

Lyon will have 48 hours in which to take in the result from the clash in the capital before their home match against Sochaux on Sunday evening.

Fourth-placed St Etienne can inch up a place on Saturday night and nudge Marseille down to fourth, but only if they win at Troyes.

St Etienne have a Coupe de la Ligue final just three weeks away, but head coach Christophe Galtier said on Thursday: "We're not talking about it. We know that we have something to play for in the league. It's a target we have in our minds. The final of the Coupe de la Ligue doesn't have to be the culmination of our season."

Nancy, Troyes and Sochaux begin the weekend in the relegation zone. While Troyes and Sochaux are engaged against two of the leading sides, Nancy will see a trip to Rennes on Saturday as an opportunity to pick up points, given their hosts have hauled in just two points from their last five games.

Brest, just a point outside the bottom three, have a tough home fixture against sixth-placed Lille on Sunday.

Saturday also sees Ajaccio at home to Toulouse, while Evian, having clawed their way out of the bottom three by winning their last two matches, tackle Reims in a battle of two sides two points outside the red zone.

Bordeaux face Lorient in a clash of two sides with slim European chances, while Valenciennes play Bastia.

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