Lille midfielder Balmont doubtful for Evian date

Brief news ahead of this weekend's Ligue 1 matches:

Lille midfielder Florent Balmont is likely to miss the third-placed champions' home encounter with promoted Evian on Saturday with a thigh problem.

Winger Dimitri Payet will be looking to break back into the team after being a substitute in Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat at Inter Milan.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Antoine Kombouare was pleased at the improvement in his side's defence in Thursday's 1-0 Europa League win over Slovan Bratislava after the Ligue 1 leaders conceded poor goals in the 4-2 victory over Caen last weekend.

"It is a great satisfaction. We have rediscovered our defensive solidity," he told reporters.

"The win over Bratislava allows us to keep confident ahead of the trip to Girondins Bordeaux on Sunday. There is good play, we are on the offensive, we are making chances, all is good."

Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud is ecstatic about his first France call-up for the upcoming friendlies against United States and Belgium but Sunday's game at Saint-Etienne is at the forefront of his mind.

"It's a great honour to be called up as a Montpellier player," the 25-year-old, who has powered his unfashionable side to second in the table with eight goals, told a news conference.

"This club has allowed me to flourish, to continue my progression. I will never forget that I owe them a lot."

Olympique Marseille winger Mathieu Valbuena, whose improving side host Nice on Sunday, was surprisingly left out of the France squad but national coach Laurent Blanc has eased any worries for those omitted.

"They form part of a group that I know. I know what they can bring. Others I know less well on the international scene," Blanc told a news conference.

Olympique Lyon travel to Sochaux on Sunday boosted by the news that Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom has extended his contract by another two years.

Stade Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila hopes to lift the darkness after Thursday's 3-1 defeat at Celtic, which all but ended their Europa League hopes, followed last weekend's Ligue 1-0 loss at Toulouse.

"It is a black period. We have to relaunch ourselves against Valenciennes," he told the club website.