Ligue 1 preview: Nancy in fight for survival
By Football News
Nancy winger Djamel Bakar shapes as the key to his team's hopes when they host fellow relegation-battlers Evian TG on Sunday.
In a battle of two of the most in-form sides embroiled in Ligue 1's relegation battle, Nancy will move out of the drop zone for the first time since September if they can overcome Evian and Sochaux fail to defeat Bordeaux.
Bakar will be crucial for the home team as the 24-year-old has produced two goals and three assists in Nancy's past six games.
During that period, Nancy, who sit 18th in Ligue 1, have won four times and claimed one draw, with their only defeat coming against league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Bakar set up Nancy's goal in their 1-1 draw away to 15th-placed Ajaccio last week, sliding a through-ball to Paul Alo'o Efoulou, who produced a cool finish.
But Nancy head coach Patrick Gabriel will be wary of Evian when they visit the Stade Marcel Picot.
Evian has as many victories as Nancy in their past five Ligue 1 matches, while Gabriel's team will also be smarting after they were bundled out of the Coupe de France on Tuesday, 3-0 at the hands of Troyes.
As many as eight clubs are still in danger of relegation in France's top division with six rounds to go, although Reims (13th on 37 points) and Valenciennes (14th on 37 points) could probably survive with just one more victory.
They will get that opportunity on Sunday when Reims host Valenciennes.
At the other end of Ligue 1's standings, PSG will look to at least maintain their nine-point gap over second-placed Marseille when they host Nice, who sit fifth.
Marseille will take on Brest on Saturday, while third-placed Lyon will travel to Montpellier on Friday.
On Sunday, Bastia are set to host Lille, Sochaux will face Bordeaux and Toulouse will play Lorient.
The round's games will wrap up on Wednesday with Saint-Etienne versus Ajaccio and Rennes hosting Troyes due to the Coupe de la Ligue final on Saturday.
Saint-Etienne and Rennes will face off in Saturday's final at the Stade de France in Paris as both clubs look to end long droughts without major trophies.
Rennes have not won a top-tier competition since their Coupe de France triumph in 1971, while Saint-Etienne's last major trophy was the French league title in 1981.