Ligue 1 Preview: Title up for grabs at Montpellier, European battle hots up

Paris Saint-Germain are one point away from winning Ligue 1, while Monaco, Marseille and Saint-Etienne also play crucial matches.

Paris Saint-Germain need just a point at Montpellier on Saturday to win their third Ligue 1 title in a row.

Laurent Blanc's men were slow to get going in the first half of the season but a storming run that has seen them win seven successive matches has put a gap between themselves and second-placed Lyon.

PSG's 6-0 hammering of Guingamp - in which Edinson Cavani netted his first Ligue 1 hat-trick - was followed by a 3-0 loss for Lyon at mid-table Caen which ensured the champions are six points clear with two games remaining.

It leaves the Parisian giants poised to claim their hat-trick of titles at Stade de la Mosson against a Montpellier side who were the last club to lift Ligue 1 before PSG's era of dominance begun.

Montpellier have enjoyed a fruitful campaign and sit seventh, but PSG have only lost three times this season and will fancy their chances of finishing off the job this weekend. 

Lyon, who have surely thrown away their chance, will hope for an upset and three points of their own when they host sixth-placed Bordeaux.

The battle for third is still well and truly on following Monaco's 2-1 loss at Marseille on Sunday. 

Monaco are two points ahead of Marseille and Saint-Etienne and coach Leonardo Jardim will hope to celebrate signing a new contract this week with a home victory over Metz.

With third comes a spot in the qualifying rounds of the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League - the top two enter in the group stages - and the side that finishes fourth will play in the UEFA Europa League next season. 

There is no reward for finishing fifth, making the margin for error minimal over the next fortnight.

Monaco should beat already-relegated Metz, but tougher tasks are in store for Marseille and Saint-Etienne.

Marcelo Bielsa's side, who lost four of five Ligue 1 matches in April, go to Lille, while Saint-Etienne meet an Evian side fighting to avoid the drop.

While Metz and Lens are already consigned to Ligue 2 football next season, the 18th-placed Evian - four points adrift of safety - still have hope.

They have 37 points - four less than Reims, and five from Toulouse, Nice and Lorient - but defeat against Saint-Etienne will see them relegated.

Reims host mid-table Rennes while Toulouse, who have won three of their last five, go to a Guingamp side who are low on confidence after being hit for six by the champions-elect last week.

Nice take on Lens and Lorient visit Nantes, wuth Bastia, fresh off a hat-trick of wins, hosting Caen.