Montpellier coach Rene Girard is not surprised Lyon sit top of Ligue 1 with the side they have
Montpellier coach Rene Girard is not surprised Lyon sit top of Ligue 1, but hopes his side can continue their good form.
Last Updated: 30/11/12 7:24pm
Les Heraultais are languishing in 12th place but are unbeaten in five league games, with wins over Nice and Bordeaux and a draw with big-spending Paris St Germain along the way, and on Wednesday beat Nice again to reach the Coupe de la Ligue semi-finals.
But Lyon go into the game on the back of a 4-1 win over fellow high-fliers Marseille and Girard told a pre-match press conference: "They are a good team, they played a good match and they are in front in the race for the title.
"They have Lisandro, Gomis, Lovren, Bisevac, lots of internationals and lots of individual quality in their team.
"Even though there are lots of young players, they are a team who always compete at the top level so it is no surprise."
While Girard put his side's early-season travails down to "a bit less concentration, less aggression and lots of changes", Lyon forward Alex Lacazette has his own theory.
The 21-year-old told his club's website: "I think the Champions League has hurt them. When you are not used to playing in the league and in this competition at the same time, it's difficult."
OL have had no such difficulties, but Lacazette said: "Everything can move very quickly in terms of the results of one team and another.
"I do not see one team above all the others. Anything is possible for OL."
Yoann Gourcuff returns from a thigh injury, with Lyon coach Remi Garde confirming: "Yoann will be available for Saturday."
Dejan Lovren, Jimmy Briand and Lisandro Lopez remained sidelined along with Michel Bastos, though Garde had encouraging news to report on the Brazilian.
"He has very quickly recovered from his pain and is desperate to rejoin the squad," he said.
Girard has a goalkeeping problem to contend with. Geoffrey Jourdren misses his third straight game with a rib injury and with back-up Laurent Pionnier also ruled out, youngsters Jonathan Ligali and Baptiste Valette will compete for a starting berth.
Girard can call on Younes Belhanda and Hilton, who sat out the midweek Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final against Nice, and Abdelhamid El Kaoutari who was an unused substitute.