Season finale is a real final for OL and Nice
By D. Crossan
Olympique Lyonnais will attempt to secure Champions League football on the final day, while Nice will be attempting to put the seal on a Europa League spot at Groupama Stadium.
Olympique de Marseille's defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final in Lyon on Wednesday night means third place in Ligue 1 Conforama will ensure a spot in the group stage of next season's Champions League. OL kick off Week 38 in third in the table, a point ahead of OM and with a vastly superior goal difference. Nice are sixth, a European finish thanks to Paris Saint-Germain lifting the Coupe de France, and have a two-point cushion over Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.
OL would already have sealed a top-three finish had they held their 2-1 lead at Strasbourg last weekend. Instead they fell 3-2 as the club from Alsace netted two dramatic late goals in order to stay up.
Genesio: "It's a final and you need to win finals"
Looking ahead to the crunch Nice clash, Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said: "It's a final and you need to win finals. That’s' all I need to say. We moved on quickly from the Strasbourg loss. You can't change what happened. We're lucky enough to have our destiny in our own hands and we have to seize the occasion. It might be a very open game, but we're at home and I hope our fans will be right behind us as they've been a determining factor in big matches."
OL skipper Nabil Fekir was on Thursday evening named in France's World Cup squad for Russia. Speaking earlier in the day, the club's joint top scorer said: "We need to to do the job against Nice. We have no choice. The stadium will be full and the fans will be behind us. We would have preferred to have wrapped up the Champions League place before now. We need to give everything in order to qualify."
Favre: "It's a final"
Nice coach Lucien Favre, heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund once more this week, hopes his side - third-placed finishers last term - can back up their 4-1 demolition of Caen from Week 37. Speaking to journalists after two Mario Balotelli goals had helped Les Aiglons to three massive points, the Swiss said: "It's a final. The last day will sort out a lot of things in this division and it will be exciting right until the last minute. There's no point having regrets over points we might have picked up earlier in the season. What's happened has happened. We have to stay positive and say to ourselves that we still have the possibility of qualifying for Europe."
Balotelli in line for Italy recall
Balotelli is in line for an Italy recall under new boss Roberto Mancini, who worked with the striker at Inter Milan and Manchester City. Mancini said this week of Nice's 18-goal top scorer: "It's certain we'll speak to him and we'll probably call him up."
Lyon: Gorgelin – Rafael, Marcelo, Morel, Fer. Mendy – Tousart, Aouar – B. Traoré, Fekir (cap), Depay – Mariano Diaz
Nice: Benitez – Souquet, Marlon, Dante (cap), Le Marchand – Cyprien, Tameze, Seri – Saint-Maximin, Balotelli, Plea