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shock of the extremes, last chances for Europe and the maintenance … The 31st day under the magnifying glass

Eight days from its end, Ligue 1 resumes its rights this weekend from April 8 to 11. With a fierce battle at the top and bottom of the table, the 31st day of the French championship could well reshuffle certain cards.

The shock… of extremes: Clermont-PSG

When Lionel Messi arrived in Paris, a bad joke became recurrent: “Do you realize, Messi is going to play in Clermont.” Even if he has already played in such rural stadiums (notably in Eibar and its 7,083 seats), the sevenfold Ballon d’Or will tread the Gabriel-Montpied in Clermont-Ferrand. And if the decor will change him from his years at Camp Nou, this clash of extremes promises between the smallest budget in L1 (around 20 million euros) and the biggest (500 million).

First because the Clermontois – who will wear a special jersey for the occasion – have revenge to take after the scathing (4-0) received on the way to the Parc des Princes. Also because the Auvergnats have made a specialty of knocking down the leaders of the championship (Marseille, Nice, Rennes…). Especially since it is not uncommon in the history of Qatari PSG to see the Parisians surprised by an over-motivated promoter, galvanized by a white-hot stadium. Because if Gabriel-Montpied is the smallest enclosure in L1, it could as well be the hottest stadium on Saturday at 9 p.m.

The game not to miss: Lens-Nice

In the race for European places, two posters will be the center of attention this weekend. If the trip from Lyon (9th) to Strasbourg (4th) will be (almost) OL’s last chance in the race for Europe, the poster to follow on this 32nd day concerns another Racing: that of Lens.

At Bollaert-Delelis, the Sang & Or (10th) and their shimmering football welcome OGC Nice (5th) in search of recovery after losing two places in the standings during the last two days of the championship. Seven lengths from Nice – who have not won since their success over PSG (two draws and a defeat) -, the Lensois can still hang up the European wagon, which Nice is gradually letting go. With a pack of four clubs less than seven points behind Les Aiglons, the pressure is mounting for everyone.

The number: 18

With 18 goals on the clock, Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco) is still at the top of the Ligue 1 scorers’ rankings. A lead that he could consolidate when he hosts Troyes this weekend. But just one unit behind him, Kylian Mbappé (PSG) and Martin Terrier (Rennes) could take advantage of their match against Clermont and Reims to catch up in this three-way fight.

Declared it:

“Our executives must resume the course of their history, that they play at their level, that they show the example all the time.”

Pascal Dupraz

at a press conference

The fight for maintenance is raging in Ligue 1 and Pascal Dupraz has understood this well. Before a frontal and perhaps decisive clash against Lorient this Friday, April 8, the Saint-Etienne coach put pressure on his group which plays big at Moustoir. Especially since this Ligue 1 weekend promises another direct confrontation for the maintenance between Bordeaux and Metz. If there are still six days left to play, part of the maintenance will undoubtedly be played out this weekend.

Player to watch: Valère Germain

Reunion evening at the Vélodrome stadium, but will they be warm? Not sure. This will be Valère Germain’s first match in his hometown since leaving OM last year. The son of Bruno Germain – 1993 European champion with OM – has certainly never lived up to expectations at the Old Port, but he intends to demonstrate with his Montpellier jersey on his back that he could have had more of consideration during his Marseille years.

Opposite, the Olympians will have their heads elsewhere anyway, focused on their second place to be kept at all costs at the end of the season. And this three days after a tough Europa League Conference match, both in the stands and on the lawn, against PAOK Salonika (2-1), and at the approach of an equally relaxing week (return against PAOK, and trip to the Parc des Princes next Sunday). In short: OM urgently need a point against Valère Germain’s MHSC who have nothing to lose, and therefore everything to gain.

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