Lille ready to knock PSG off perch in tense French finale
A tight French title race culminates Sunday with table toppers Lille a win away from dethroning Neymar and Kylian Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain as champions.
Christophe Galtier’s outfit has no major stars but is unbeaten away since November and travel to mid-table Angers, a team who have lost five of their last six league games.
On 80 points, Lille holds a slender one-point lead over PSG who won the French Cup in midweek.
Galtier has been a tower of strength at the head of three-time former champions Lille, and is confident his charges will complete the job.
“Our campaign has been built on away performances, we just have to stick to our guns,” he said.
Turkish veteran striker Burak Yilmaz, 35, is Lille’s top scorer with 15 goals, compared to the league-leading 26 of Mbappe, but there is a palpable sense of unity at the club.
Lille, bidding to win the title for the first time in a decade, have a budget which is smaller than that of Lyon, Marseille and Monaco as well as PSG.
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino insisted his side will hold their nerve at Brest who are desperate to avoid being dragged into the relegation play-off spot.
“We have to believe it’s possible, do our job by winning our match at Brest and see if Lille run into trouble,” said Pochettino, whose charges will take the title with a win if Lille draw or lose.
If they are successful, PSG will be crowned French champions for a record-equalling 10th time.
– ‘Something wonderful‘ –
On what could be an enthralling last day, Niko Kovac’s Monaco, on 77 points, will hope to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2018.
Monaco were beaten 2-0 midweek by PSG in the French Cup final but former Bayern coach Kovac said his side had already moved on.
“If we win at Lens on Sunday we will have transformed our season into something wonderful,” said Kovac.
The south coast side will however be looking anxiously over their shoulders at Lyon who can still snatch third place.
Dutch striker Memphis Depay, in his last game before he becomes a free agent, vowed he’d help Lyon get three points at home to Nice.
“The only thing that counts right now is qualifying Lyon for the Champions League,” said Depay, who arrived from Manchester United and is tipped to join Barcelona.
“I want to leave here a mature player who assumed his responsibilities.”
At the bottom, Nimes and Dijon are already relegated, but there are six sides fighting to avoid a relegation play-off.
Sunday (all 1900GMT)
Lens v Monaco, Brest v Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon v Nice, Lorient v Strasbourg, Nantes v Montpellier, Reims v Bordeaux, Metz v Marseille, Rennes v Nimes, Saint Etienne v Dijon