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5 things to know about the French league ahead of Saturday's matches

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PARIS - Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco have already secured the top two spots in the French league. Third-place Lille and Saint-Etienne will vie for the last Champions League berth in the final round on Saturday. Evian and Sochaux are the only two teams still under the threat of relegation and will meet in a dramatic battle for safety at Stade Bonal.

Here are five things to know about Saturday's games:



PSG has the opportunity to break the record for most victories in a French league season when it hosts Montpellier. The French champion defeated Lille 3-1 last weekend to equal Reims (1960), Monaco (1961) and Nantes (1966 and 1980) with 26 wins.

The victory over Lille also allowed PSG to set a new record for most points in a season with 86 from 37 games.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc will likely rest some of the players called up for the World Cup in Brazil: Salvatore Sirigu, Lucas Digne, Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Blaise Matuidi, Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti, Yohan Cabaye, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

"We will try to be smart and not take too much risk with too many players," Blanc told a news conference.



James Rodriguez has proved instrumental in helping Monaco secure a runner-up finish by scoring nine goals and having 12 assists in his first season in the league.

The young Colombia midfielder only needed a couple of months to adjust to a new league and to the tactical requirements of Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri.

Last weekend, Rodriguez was selected in the French league's team of the year. He was also among the nominees for the top award in French football, but lost to PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was voted player of the year by his fellow professionals for the second straight season.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman included Rodriguez in his 30-man squad for the World Cup.



Saint-Etienne trailed Lille by seven points in late April but it has won its last three games to narrow the gap to two points, holding a goal difference three better than Lille.

Lille visits Lorient while Saint-Etienne hosts last-place Ajaccio. Saint-Etienne needs a victory to have a chance of leapfrogging Lille into third place.

"We must be fired up but also lucid. However, the pressure is not on us," Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier told the club's website. "Our supporters still believe. I hope we will rise to the occasion."

The French side finishing third enters the preliminary round of the Champions League whereas the fourth-place club qualifies for the Europa League playoffs.



Despite Lyon and Marseille fighting for the last Europa League spot, both their coaches will step down at the end of the season.

Lyon coach Remi Garde declined a contract extension because of family and personal reasons while Marseille coach Jose Anigo will be replaced by Marcelo Bielsa, who has agreed on a two-year deal.

Marseille hosts Guingamp while Lyon visits Nice.

"We don't have our fate in our hands," Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena told the club's website. "We hope to beat Guingamp and that Lyon will slip at Nice."

Lyon is aiming to secure a European spot for the 18th straight season. Lyon sits in fifth place, one point clear of Marseille, which holds a goal difference one better than its rival.



Sochaux has won four of its last five games to keep its safety hopes alive despite spending the last 35 rounds in the relegation zone. Evian holds the last position of safety, one point clear of Sochaux.

Sochaux coach Herve Renard has written 'never give up' on the board of the dressing room at Stade Bonal to motivate his squad.

"We've always believed in our lucky star," Renard told a news conference. "We need a victory. If we are not able of doing it here, then it will mean that we don't deserve to stay in the top division."

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