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Ligue 1 preview: Lille not giving up on title

5 May 2012 01:54

Lille can lock up France's third European Champions League berth with a draw against Caen but have not given up on the title in Ligue 1.

Lille are currently third on 68 points, five points behind league-leaders Montpellier with three games to go.

The defending champions are nine points ahead of Lyon and need just one more point to ensure a Champions League qualifying spot for next season.

But heading into Sunday's game, Lille captain Rio Mavuba refused to give up on back-to-back titles.

"We have the right to dream,'' Mavuba said. "To stand a chance, we'll have to win every game left.''

Lille won 1-0 on Wednesday over Nice making it seven victories in eight games.

"By winning here (in Nice), we showed that people will have to take us seriously as the season draws to a close," coach Rudi Garcia said after Wednesday's triumph.

Montpellier let Lille and second-placed Paris Saint-Germain back into the title race with a 2-2 draw with Evian in midweek.

The south-coast club have never won the Ligue 1 championship, but can take a big step towards changing that statistic with a win away to fifth-placed Rennes on Sunday.

That game is the first of two tough games for Montpellier, as Rene Girard's side will play Lille in their penultimate match of the season.

Rennes need a win to potentially move above Lyon into fourth, which comes with a Europa League place.

PSG are poised to benefit from any more poor results by Montpellier.

The big-spending capital club are three points off the top of the table and play mid-table Valenciennes on Sunday.

In the third game on Sunday, Lyon host Brest.

On Monday, Auxerre can continue their late drive to avoid relegation with against Bordeaux, while Saint-Etienne and Toulouse must win against Marseille and Nice respectively to maintain their hopes of winning France's Europa League spot.

In other games on Monday, Lorient host Dijon and Sochaux take on Nancy.

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +34 82
2 38 +34 79
3 38 +33 74
4 38 +13 64
5 38 +12 61
6 38 +9 60
7 38 +4 57
8 38 +3 56
9 38 -1 50
10 38 +4 48
11 38 -10 45
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -7 42
14 38 -20 42
15 38 -7 41
16 38 -21 41
17 38 -14 39
18 38 -20 38
19 38 -25 36
20 38 -11 34