By Chris Burke
Olympique Lyonnais, Paris Saint-Germain FC and AS Monaco FC return to domestic duties this weekend after their UEFA Champions League exertions. Lyon take on SC Bastia, while PSG and Monaco will both be eager to rebound from defeat when they meet at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Champions Lyon will expect a hard game against fellow high-flyers Bastia. Lyon midfield player Mahamadou Diarra may return from a thigh injury after missing the 2-2 draw with Manchester United FC while Bastia have fitness doubts over Frédéric Née, Tony Vairelles, Fabrice Jau, Pierre-Yves André and Djibril Sidibé. Lyon captain Claudio Caçapa said: "This is an important game and we can't afford to relax. Everyone is keen to get out there and play."
Elsewhere on Saturday, Olympique de Marseille will hope to end a run of two straight defeats against visiting leaders Toulouse FC. The day's other action sees Stade Rennais FC travel to FC Girondins de Bordeaux, AS Saint-Etienne attempt to register their first win against bottom club AC Ajaccio, 15th-placed FC Nantes Atlantique play FC Istres, the team one place below them, and RC Lens visit RC Strasbourg.
On Sunday, PSG will be desperate to kick-start their season when they lock horns with Monaco. Energetic as a substitute in the 3-0 defeat by Chelsea FC, Daniel Ljuboja can expect to start in attack. Captain José Pierre-Fanfan should play too, despite receiving nine stitches following his clash of heads with Eidur Gudjohnsen. Monaco also had their confidence dented in midweek, losing 2-0 at Liverpool FC, but welcome back Argentina forward Javier Saviola.
Monaco defender Sébastien Squillaci has warned his team-mates to be careful in the capital. He said: "Paris are having a confidence crisis but I feel they might be about to turn the corner. We have to make sure that the game against us isn’t the one that changes their season."
In Sunday's other games, AJ Auxerre, Lille OSC and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard get back in action after UEFA Cup duty on Thursday to face FC Metz, SM Caen and OGC Nice respectively. As with Toulouse, Bastia and Lyon, Metz have yet to lose a game.
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