Lyon brought back down to earth with a bump

PARIS - Signs that Olympique Lyon may be on the brink of resuming their complete dominance of Ligue 1 disappeared into the autumnal Norman air during Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at also-rans Caen but Remi Garde's side have an immediate chance to strike back.

Lyon host Girondins Bordeaux on Saturday and if ever they needed a reminder of just how low the mighty can fall, a game against the west coast side should do the trick.

After winning the French title seven years in a row, Lyon's reign was finally ended by Bordeaux in 2009 but since then both sides have struggled to reach anywhere near the same heights.

Beleaguered Bordeaux at least got a 1-1 draw at home to champions Lille in midweek but have generally suffered far more than Lyon in the past two seasons after selling their top players, including the injured Yoann Gourcuff to Garde's side.

The hosts therefore start as definite favourites on Saturday despite the loss at bogey side Caen and a number of key injuries.

Lyon had been top ahead of the game and president Jean-Michel Aulas was predicting greatness once again under rookie coach Garde, who replaced the sacked Claude Puel after last term's third place.

It did not go to plan on Wednesday with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris being sent off just before the break for a professional foul which led to the match-winning penalty.

Midfielder Michel Bastos was not amused.

"There are matches where the ball just won't go in," the Brazilian told reporters.

"We didn't start the first half like we wanted. We tried to change things in the second half but it wasn't sufficient. Our performance was not at the level we expect."

That level of expectation was fuelled by four wins and two draws in their opening league games and the fact that Lyon still have the best team on paper in France despite Paris Saint-Germain's recent shopping spree.

The capital club prevailed 2-1 in a game of three penalties in Wednesday's win over Nice but the new signings, recruited thanks to their Qatari wealth, have still not bedded in fully.

Saturday's trip to surprise leaders Montpellier will be one of PSG's toughest tests yet and offer a useful indication of who will emerge as the real French powerhouses this season with Lille looking shaky ahead of hosting Lorient.

Olympique Marseille had hoped to be the team to beat at the start of the campaign but Wednesday's 2-0 win over promoted Evian was their first of the league season.

The visit to modest Valenciennes on Saturday should not dampen their new-found confidence before Wednesday's Champions League appointment at home to stuttering German title holders Borussia Dortmund.