Reims face Olympian test for survival
Reims coach David Guion says he still believes the Champagne club can secure Ligue 1 survival, despite starting Week 38 in 19th place and closing out the season at home to second-placed Olympique Lyonnais.
Stade de Reims - Olympique Lyonnais
Reims have lost six of their last seven Ligue 1 matches, including each of the two overseen by Guion since he replaced Olivier Guégan. A goalkeeping error from recalled veteran Kossi Agassa cost Reims a 1-0 loss at Olympique de Marseille in Week 37, a defeat that left further damage than the inability to score points. Leading attacker Nicolas De Préville hurt his foot in that match, while Antoine Conté went off with a groin injury. Both players have been ruled out of the crunch clash with OL.
Reims begin Week 38 a point behind both Gazélec Ajaccio, in 18th, and 17th-placed Toulouse, but Guion is keen to make the mood positive as Reims attempt to secure a fifth straight season of top division football.
Guion said: "We still believe, and the light is still on. We'll need to get a win on the last day. We're all professionals, and we come across each other every week. Every club will play the game on the last day, so we're confident.
"We're all aware that Saturday's match could save our season. Our goalkeeper is very experienced, but an individual mistake can happen to a great professional. We caused OM quite a few problems and I regret the fact we didn't score. With a bit more determination, we could have scored first and come home with at least a draw."
While things are on a knife-edge for Reims, OL head into the final day in supremely relaxed mood, their thumping 6-1 win in the second-placed shootout at home to ten-man Monaco assuring Bruno Génésio's side of a runners-up finish for the second season running.
Alexandre Lacazette's hat-trick against Monaco lifted last season's Ligue 1 top scorer on to 21 for the season and made it 11 goals for the French international forward from his last nine league appearances.
Genesio, promoted from Hubert Fournier's assistant at the winter break, deserves a huge amount of credit for the OL revival that ensures Champions League group stage football at the Parc OL next season. OL have been unbeaten at their new home since it opened at the start of 2016, and under Genesio have collected an impressive 43 points from 18 matches.
OL have collected eight wins and two draws from their last 10 Ligue 1 outings and will want to finish 2015-2016 on a high. Speaking after the resounding Monaco success, Génésio said: "It was like we were in a dream and went way beyond what we'd hoped for. I was very calm before the match as I had a huge amount of confidence in my players, as has been the case since I took over.
"I'm proud of having fulfilled the objective that wasn't at all easy when I started in January. I'm proud of having done good work along with all the elements in my coaching team, and to have given this side its soul back."
Reims: Agassa; Conte, Fofana, Mandi (c), Turan; Kankava, Oniangué, Devaux; Diego, Charbonnier, de Préville
Lyon: Lopes; Rafael, Yanga Mbiwa, Morel, Bedimo; Gonalons (c), Sergi Darder, Ferri, Fekir; Cornet, Ghezzal