PSG gunning to pile more misery on Marseille
Paris Saint-Germain will look to pile more misery on Marseille coach Didier Deschamps when the league leaders travel south for the French Ligue 1 clash of the weekend at Stade Velodrome on Sunday.
Deschamps' side are struggling on all fronts, sitting 10th with a modest 18 points from 14 games, a massive 12 points behind big-spending PSG after falling at Montpellier last weekend through a Souleymane Diawara own goal.
And their European hopes are now hanging by a slender thread after Olympiakos dealt a blow to the 1993 champions' hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win at Stade Velodrome in mid-week.
"It's been a very bad week," said Deschamps after Wednesday's match.
"I can't stand losing. We'll have to digest this and then we'll switch over to what's ahead of us."
Sunday's 'Clasico' could, however, enable Deschamps' side to knock their sworn enemies PSG off their perch after seven consecutive weeks on top.
The side from the capital have 30 points and lead the table from Montpellier on goal difference, with Lille five points behind in third, just ahead of Rennes.
The Parisians, reportedly in talks to sign former England captain David Beckham, will themselves be looking to get back on track after their hopes of a first league title in 18 years suffered a setback as they fell 1-0 at home to strugglers Nancy.
PSG star Javier Pastore said he was raring to "experience the passion" of his first 'Clasico' since signing from Palermo for a French record fee of 42 million euros this summer.
"Since I arrived, everyone has been telling me about this match," said the Argentine.
"A Clasico isn't about playing, it's about winning. Of course this match is an event in itself but the best way to approach it is to prepare normally.
"Like every week, we're training to the maximum to be ready and present on the day.
"The only way to get the machine started again and to satisfy the fans is to win in Marseille on Sunday. It's as simple as that."
Montpellier are waiting in the wings should Antoine Kombouare's side slip up and have a chance to take the top spot as they travel to 11th-placed Sochaux on Saturday.
Reigning champions Lille put a goalless draw at Toulouse last weekend behind them to re-ignite their Champions League hopes by beating CSKA Moscow 2-0 in Russia on Tuesday.
And the northerners will be looking to close the gap on the leading pair when they host Brest, who are sitting just two places above the drop zone, with fellow Bretons Rennes hosting new boys Evian.
Lyon travel to Auxerre on Sunday, having seen their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 all but extinguished by a goalless draw at home to Ajax, with Lorient hosting second-from-bottom Nice.
Elsewhere, Saint-Etienne, now in the top half after a 2-0 win at Nice, will be bidding to push further ahead as they host tail-enders Ajaccio, while Toulouse host Valenciennes and Caen travel to under-performing Bordeaux.
Fixtures (1800GMT unless otherwise stated)
Saint-Etienne v Ajaccio, Toulouse v Valenciennes, Sochaux v Montpellier, Rennes v Evian, Bordeaux v Caen, Nancy v Dijon, Lille v Brest (2000GMT)
Lorient v Nice (1400GMT), Auxerre v Lyon (1400GMT), Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain (2000GMT)
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