PSG must keep eye on prize before Barca clash

A match against the domestic champions would usually be a big occasion but Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain have barely even noticed Friday's visitors are Montpellier.

Instead all the talk in the French capital is of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona with the club saying it had received some 700,000 ticket requests for it.

"People are stopping us in the street to talk about it," midfielder Clement Chantome told a news conference.

"They even forget about the league. And obviously, we've been talking about Barcelona in the dressing room as well. Everybody thinks about it."

Even David Beckham's interest in the Montpellier game could be questioned as the former England captain left his team-mates during the international window for a promotional trip in China.

PSG could be kicking themselves, though, if they let the distraction of the Champions League hurt their chances of a first league title since 1994.

They have 58 points and lead second-placed Olympique Lyon, who host Sochaux on Sunday, by five points with nine games left.

Montpellier, by contrast, are only too aware who they are taking on this weekend.

"There is maybe some extra motivation to play against Paris and it may help us for that game," midfielder Daniel Congre told the club's website.


PSG have not beaten Montpellier at the Parc des Princes in their last three games and their Brazil forward Lucas is doubtful for the game with an ankle injury.

Olympique Marseille, on 51 points, will look to hang on to third place when they visit fifth-place Nice who are three points adrift with a better goal difference.

Nice will hope that striker Dario Cvitanich is back to fitness for Sunday's encounter after being sidelined for weeks with a thigh injury.

"He is a pure striker. He does not need three or four chances to score. He is a permanent threat," OM midfielder Alaixys Romao told the club's website.

Marseille's English midfielder Joey Barton is doubtful for the match with a thigh problem.

Fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, on 49 points, also have an eye on third spot as they travel to strugglers Troyes on Saturday while bottom club Nancy, who are five points from safety, face a tricky trip to Stade Rennes.

"We have been showing we have what it takes [to aim high]," Saint-Etienne midfielder Josuha Guilavogui told the club's website.

"We managed good results against top teams, which is something we would struggle to achieve last season. Something is happening."