Cris returns for struggling Lyon

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

The return to action of central defender Cris, sidelined since August 15 with a groin injury, will boost Olympique Lyon's morale when they travel to Nancy on Saturday.

The former French champions lie in the Ligue 1 relegation zone for the first time in 15 years with a miserable record of one win, two draws and four defeats in seven games.

Coach Claude Puel was relieved by Wednesday's Champions League win at Hapoel Tel Aviv.

"It's always nice to win but this win was particularly important," he told reporters. "Now we have another game to play."

Nancy, looking for a first home win of the season, will be at full strength to host Olympique Lyon. Coach Pablo Correa said he would keep faith with the starting line-up that came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at AJ Auxerre last weekend.

Marseille coach Didier Deschamps has told his players to forget Tuesday's 2-0 defeat by Chelsea in the Champions League and concentrate on Saturday's game at leaders St Etienne.

"It was a big blow for them and now they face St Etienne, a team full of confidence. They are not the ideal opponents at this point but the championship is our bread and butter, we are the champions and we must live up to our rank," he said.

Marseille are sixth, five points adrift of St Etienne.

St Etienne have not altered their routine despite reaching top spot for the first time in 28 years and defeating arch-rivals and neighbours Olympique Lyon at home for the first time in 18 years.

Since they narrowly escaped relegation last season, austerity has been the management's key word. As a result, players will spend the night before the Marseille game at the club's academy and not in a five-star hotel as they used to.

Girondins Bordeaux will host Lorient on Saturday without Marc Planus after tests showed the central defender had not fully recovered from a knee injury.

"Marc would like to play but I shall not give him the green light until he is 100 percent fit", said Jean Tigana, coach of the 2009 champions who lie 13th, eight points off the pace and just ahead of Lorient on goal difference.