Gourcuff set to return against Lorient

PARIS - Brief news from Ligue 1 before this weekend's matches:

France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff is set to return after a seven-week injury layoff when Olympique Lyon take on Lorient on Saturday.

Gourcuff has not featured in a Ligue 1 match since he picked up an Achilles injury in November. Lyon are fourth in the standings, a point behind leaders Lille, who have a game in hand.

Olympique Marseille still have a shot at the Ligue 1 title despite a string of poor results before the winter break, says coach Didier Deschamps.

"As far as the results are concerned, four from 15 possible points (before the break) is clearly not enough. We could have lost the title in this first part of the season, but we did not. We still can win it during the second part," Deschamps told OMTV on Thursday.

Marseille, who entertain Girondins Bordeaux on Sunday, are fifth in the standings, three points off the pace.

Leaders Lille, on 32 points from 18 games, have been playing down title talk ahead of their trip to face Nice on Saturday.

"Marseille and Lyon will eventually find their stride... Our goal is to finish in the top five," midfielder Florent Balmont told France Football's website.

Keeper Cedric Carrasso believes Girondins Bordeaux can still finish in the top three and snatch a Champions League spot despite a mediocre first half of the season.

"With the Ligue 1 being so tight, we are not out of our depth. We're only four points from the top three. Everything is still possible," Carrasso, a former Marseille keeper, told France Football magazine on Friday.

Bordeaux lie eighth in the standings, four points behind third-placed Stade Rennes and five points adrift of pacesetters Lille.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Mevlut Erding acknowledged he has to improve to help the club win their first league title since 1994.

"I was not good during the first half of the season, I'm aware of it," Turkey striker Erding, who scored four goals from 17 league appearances this season, told French radio RMC earlier this week. "I'm not going to let go, I'm going to work harder."

PSG are second in the standings, one point behind Lille, who have a game in hand.