Paris: Ligue 1 leaders Marseille chase a club record ninth consecutive victory on Sunday when they travel to Lyon while defending champions Paris Saint-Germain are in action at home to Bordeaux 24 hours earlier.
Marcelo Bielsa`s new look Marseille side have been the talk of French football after a blistering start to their campaign and the question is now whether they can protect a seven point advantage and go all the way to a tenth league title.
PSG are their closest rivals and remain the only unbeaten side in the division but six draws in ten matches has seen them lose ground on Bielsa`s men, who are shaping up as serious title contenders.
OM striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has been the star man with ten goals in as many matches, including one in their most recent 2-0 victory over Toulouse at the Velodrome, a streak that also earned the 28-year-old a recall to the France team.
Few would have bet against Laurent Blanc`s two-time defending champions going on to win a third crown but Marseille appear to be the real deal after Argentine Bielsa came in at the beginning of the season and revamped their style of play.
The capital club know that if the gap is not reduced this weekend, the importance on the clash between the two sides at the Parc des Princes on November 9 will take on increased significance.
They will also be without key striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is still struggling with a heel injury.
Marseille have won eight matches in a row on two occasions, back in 1937 and 1998, but it was Lyon who snapped their streak last time out.
And the fourth-placed hosts at the Stade Gerland are themselves unbeaten in six and coming off a 5-1 thrashing of Montpellier last Sunday.Third-placed Bordeaux come into their clash level on points with PSG but low on confidence after a 1-1 home draw against lowly Caen last Sunday.
"We know how good Paris are and we know their players," said Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol, who is in his first season in charge of a top flight club.
"The advantage about going to Paris is that we have nothing to lose and everything to win. I want the players to take risks to go for victory in Paris because we don`t have a team to defend," added the former international full-back.
"We`ll be looking to get a result with open play and grab some goals but we`ve got to raise our level and it`s going to be a packed stadium. We are playing a team with an international stature but I prefer to concede five goals by at least trying to take the game to them." concluded Sagnol.
Should Marseille triumph in Lyon and set a new record for victories, they would be two short of Bordeaux`s single-season record of 11 achieved on the way to the 2009 Ligue 1 crown, under Blanc, while the Girodins also have the overall record for wins at 14, chalked up between March and August 2009.
In other matches, fifth-placed Saint-Etienne return from Europa League duty at Inter Milan and host Metz on Sunday while a busy Saturday slate features Bastia at home to Monaco, Lorient at Caen, Reims take on Montpellier in the Champagne region and sixth-placed Nantes are on the road at Evian.
Sunday`s early match takes place at Rennes when Lille are in Brittany while Nice travel to Guingamp.
The weekend programme begins Friday with Toulouse hosting rock-bottom Lens.
Fixtures (all times 1800GMT unless noted)
Toulouse v Lens (1830)
Paris Saint-Germain v Bordeaux (1500), Caen v Lorient, Evian v Nantes, Reims v Montpellier, Bastia v Monaco
Rennes v Lille (1200), Guingamp v Nice (1500), Saint-Etienne v Metz (1500), Lyon v Marseille (1900)