Paris Saint-Germain hosts Reims in French league


PARIS (AP) -Paris Saint-Germain can take over first place in the French league for the first time this season, at least temporarily, with a win over Reims on Saturday.

Victory over the newly promoted team will put it level on points with Marseille, which can reclaim its three-point lead by beating Troyes at home on Sunday.

"It will be a difficult match against a promoted team which wants to play," PSG striker Kevin Gameiro said. "We can't lose points against the little teams, so we have to be careful and make this match easy for ourselves.

"I'll take what's given to me. Whether that be 10, 20 or 90 minutes, I will give it my all to annoy the coach in his decisions. I'm confident in my head, so I know it will work."

The international break came at a poor time for PSG after having finally begun to look like a team rather than a collection of expensive talents. PSG beat Sochaux 2-0 and then drew 2-2 against Marseille in its last outing, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring twice to take his tally to 10 goals in nine games.

"Defenders are often fixed on Zlatan, so that gives me more space," added Gameiro, who scored twice against Sochaux.

Thiago Motta is still out injured as is Clement Chantome, while Marco Verratti is suspended for the game. However, Mathieu Bodmer is available again.

Marseille plays Troyes a little more than 24 hours later, looking to extend its impressive start to the season. Coach Elie Baup, however, has dismissed all talk of winning the title.

"We have to stop heating things up like that," he said. "There have been eight matches, there's still another 30. We're trying to be coherent in our game, we certainly don't want to lose sight of that. We're not going to get into the game of rivalry and other teams' results.

"Our idea is to continue being united in our work and in our desire to do the maximum. If we continue with this mentality, results will come. That's our plan."

Jeremy Morel trained apart from the squad on Thursday because of a back problem, but is expected to be fit for the trip to Troyes.

Troyes, which is bottom of the standings with two points, is without Julien Faussurier and Sebastien Grax.

Third-place Lyon missed the chance to keep the pressure on the top two when it was held to a 1-1 draw at Lorient last weekend. The team is one point behind PSG and hosts a Brest side that has lost all of its away matches this season.

"This team is on a good run at home and a completely negative one away from home," Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre said. "They will come without any pressure at all. That's what's going to make the match complicated for us.

"It's a well-organized team that don't give anything up. It's a trap for us. We mustn't take them lightly. It'll be really difficult."

Also on Sunday, it's the Corsican derby as AC Ajaccio hosts Bastia.

On Saturday, it's: Evian vs. Toulouse; Nancy vs. Sochaux; Nice vs. St Etienne; Rennes vs. Montpellier; and Valenciennes vs. Lorient.

Bordeaux hosts Lille on Friday.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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