Montpellier eye top spot as PSG face Lyon
While Montpellier president Louis Nicollin has played down his team's chances of winning the league, after they finished 14th last season, coach Rene Girard is more upbeat.
Asked after last Sunday's 2-2 draw against PSG at the Parc des Princes if Montpellier could win the title, Girard said: "Yes, why not?
"I heard a lot of people say that we would crumble. I'm happy to disappoint them. We're still there," he added.
With top striker Olivier Giroud in their ranks, as well as Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda and solid defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Montpellier have a top-class player in every line. They trail PSG by one point.
PSG, who were outplayed by Montpellier and have drawn their last two league games, face a test at Olympique Lyon.
Seven-times French champions Lyon lie sixth in the standings 12 points off the pace and six points behind champions Lille, who occupy the Champions League qualifying spot in third place.
PSG should welcome back midfielder Mathieu Bodmer, who missed the Montpellier game through injury.
"We are going to Lyon to win the game. We are calm, self-confident, we know we are a great collective strength," PSG centre-back Mamadou Sakho told French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday.
Lille, who beat Sochaux in a rescheduled game on Wednesday, travel to Stade Rennes on Sunday hoping that PSG and Montpellier will have faltered.
"In the past, some teams have cracked after a great start to the season but we are mentally tough," coach Rudi Garcia told L'Equipe on Thursday.
Lille are under threat from in-form Saint-Etienne, who jumped to fourth after beating Lorient 4-2 on Wednesday.
Saint-Etienne, who lie three points adrift of Lille, travel to troubled AJ Auxerre on Saturday.