Midweek results boost Lyon & Marseille morale

PARIS - Olympique Lyon and Olympique Marseille both used the Champions League stage to boost their morale before facing each other in domestic action on Sunday.

Lyon, whose seven-year spell at the top of Ligue 1 was ended by Girondins Bordeaux last May, qualified for the knockout stages of the showcase European club competition with a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool on Wednesday.

Marseille, who were seen by many as Ligue 1 title favourites but have not quite lived up to high expectations so far, strongly suggested they could threaten Lyon at their Gerland Stadium by thrashing Zurich 6-1 on Tuesday.

The result kept alive their slim hopes of surviving the Champions League group phase and showed at last that their potential could translate into plenty of goals.

"We didn't have many more chances than in our previous matches but we scored a lot more goals and that's encouraging," Marseille midfielder Benoit Cheyrou told reporters.

Marseille lie seventh in Ligue 1, seven points off leaders Bordeaux and five points behind second-placed Lyon.

Lyon will be without three important players through injury - defenders Francois Clerc and Anthony Reveillere as well as Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanic - and coach Claude Puel said his side were tired after facing Liverpool.

"It is a fact that neither Clerc nor Reveillere or Pjanic will play on Sunday," Puel told reporters.

"To have qualified (in the Champions League) is a great satisfaction but I can tell you that the players finished the match very tired, both psychologically and physically, and we have another important match coming," he added.

Bordeaux will face a seemingly easier task when they visit lowly Lille, also on Sunday.

The champions also used European action to warm up in style, booking a place in the Champions League knockout round with a 2-0 win at Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Bordeaux have often struggled at Lille, having not won there since the 2002-03 season, but coach Laurent Blanc was not worried.

"The match in Munich showed that we are capable of getting good results in away games by making the most of few scoring chances," Blanc told reporters.