Lyon host Boulogne on brink of crisis

PARIS - Seven-times champions Olympique Lyon face a must-win game against second from bottom Boulogne on Wednesday after Sunday's 1-0 defeat at home to Girondins Bordeaux put them on the brink of crisis.

They are ninth in the table, their worse rank since 1997, eight points adrift of champions and leaders Bordeaux.

With seven wins, five draws and four defeats in 16 league games, results are bad for a team who started the season determined to recover the title.

Lyon have not won at their Gerland Stadium since the 2-1 victory over Toulouse on September 26 and their supporters, who booed coach Claude Puel of the field on Sunday, are getting more and more frustrated.

"Such a reaction is not surprising because we are struggling to recover our composure. To be eight points behind is not the end of the story but it's becoming a serious gap even if I think we deserved a better result," Puel told journalists.

However, chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has backed the coach, stating the discussion about Puel was "unjust and inappropriate".

"Claude Puel is an excellent coach that's why he has been chosen. We must close ranks behind him. We have two problems to solve: solidarity and the number of injuries," Aulas added.

"All the great teams are going through bad patches. We have three games to play before the break we need three wins to reach Christmas with our head held high."

The first of these three games will be against Boulogne who have only recorded three wins and three draws since the start of their first Ligue 1 season.

Lyon will then travel to 12th-placed Monaco on Sunday and host Montpellier, currently second four points adrift of Bordeaux, on December 23.

Bordeaux, who are in ebullient mood after securing top spot in their Champions League group, are at Montpellier on Wednesday, at home against sixth-placed Lorient on Saturday and will end the year at mid-table Toulouse.