Ligue 1 - Lille watch backs as sprint starts

Lille will be watching their backs when they entertain Toulouse in Ligue 1 as the race for a place in next season's Champions League enters the home straight.


Lille, who have a slim chance of retaining their league title, are third with 53 points and nine games to play, seven behind leaders Montpellier, but only three ahead of fourth-placed Toulouse.

"The sprint is about to start between the four or five teams still in a position to clinch third place," Lille forward Gianni Bruno was quoted as saying on the team's website.

"No need to say that to that regard the Toulouse game is important because they are our closest rivals," said Bruno.

The top two teams in Ligue 1 directly qualify for the Champions League group stage while the third-placed side has to go through a playoff tie.

Lyon, in fifth on 49 points, travel to Stade Rennes on Sunday having snatched away wins at Paris St Germain in the Coupe de France quarter-finals and arch-rivals St Etienne.

"We've been more rigorous. We all want to qualify for the Champions League so everybody needs to pull together. Even if we struggle in the end of our matches, we do not let go," defender Samuel Umtiti told the club's website.

"Anything is now possible. Let's just stick together and we'll see where it takes us. But I think we have what it takes to finish third."

Montpellier's match at Marseille has been postponed until April 11 to help Marseille prepare for their Champions League return leg against Bayern Munich.

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