Olympique de Marseille will seek to ride the momentum gained in European competition to secure a win at Angers SCO on Sunday that could push them closer to next season's UEFA Champions League.
Angers SCO - Olympique de Marseille
OM have one foot in the UEFA Europa League final after Thursday's 2-0 semi-final first leg win over Red Bull Salzburg in front of a record crowd at the Stade Orange Vélodrome.
The win, secured thanks to goals from the prolific Florian Thauvin and substitute Clinton Njie, was Marseille's fourth successive triumph in all competitions, and means they head into next week's second leg in Austria and the final four league matches of the campaign at full pelt.
With AS Monaco faltering, Marseille have sneaked up to within a point of the 2016/17 Ligue 1 Conforama champions in second place, and though Rudi Garcia's side are in fourth, behind Olympique Lyonnais on goal difference despite last weekend's 5-1 romp against LOSC Lille, they are France's in-form team right now.
"If we can take everyone in France for the final, it would be magnificent," said Garcia after his team's midweek win that leaves them within touching distance of next month's final at the Lyon's Groupama Stadium.
"For the moment, we're not there at all though. We did it with our strengths on the day, which were enough to win it. That shows the commitment of each and every one of them to the squad…Now we have to prepare for Angers on Sunday. We'll be there, in form, to win."
Sarr: 'Finish things off'
"We now have to finish things off, but there are also things to finish off in the league," Bouna Sarr said after another sure-footed display at full-back. "We're going to Angers on Sunday, we have to go and get the win. In the dressing room, there was tiredness and joy. But nothing is done, there's still a return leg. We have to be careful, and the best way to prepare for it would be to win at Angers."
Despite Angers coming into the weekend in 14th place, a victory may not be all that easy to obtain. Stéphane Moulin's men have won only once in their last six league games, but they have lost just twice in that run, and secured a point from their trip to Marseille earlier in the season.
Though not entirely certain of top-flight survival, they do have a handy eight-point cushion in hand on the bottom three, despite last weekend's 2-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Toulouse FC.
"When we have 60 percent of the possession like tonight, we often lose because it is not our game. We contented ourselves with keeping the ball but without trying to be dangerous. We were far too wasteful and Toulouse took advantage," explained Moulin after the defeat that leaves his side winless in three.
"We had the chance [to secure survival] and we didn't take it. Maybe our 37 points will be enough but it would be preferable if we could make sure rather than play with fire."
Angers: to follow
Marseille: to follow