Montpellier has 'score to settle' at PSG

Montpellier has matched free-spending PSG for much of the season, but Sunday's visit to the Parc des Princes could determine whether the Ligue 1 title race will be over before March.

PSG spent well over $100 million in transfers last summer and this winter, and as winter additions Alex and Thiago Motta settle in with their new team, a win over Montpellier could all but end the title race.

The Paris club has just a one-point lead over Montpellier, but the rest of the teams have fallen more than 10 points off the top. Montpellier, which finished just three points above relegation last season is the only challenger left.

"It's only us who can rain on PSG's parade," Montpellier's Oliver Giroud said.

PSG is unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions, but while Giroud acknowledged Montpellier's opponents this week are "a team of champions," they are "not yet a champion team."

Montpellier tasted defeat earlier this season against PSG, losing 3-0 at home, which is all that separates the clubs after 23 games.

"We have a score to settle," Giroud said.

However, Giroud did not specify a win in Paris this weekend, instead admitting "a draw would be a good result."

Giroud, who leads Ligue 1 with 16 goals, also felt the pressure was on PSG and not his side this weekend.

"I hope we'll be able to calmly play our best football, without worrying about the context, and get the result," Giroud added.

Montpellier's turnaround this season has been amazing, and even if it dropped off the pace of PSG down the stretch, a second-place finish would send it into the Champions League next season.

With Giroud coveted by squads throughout Europe, that could be enough to keep the talented French striker. A first Ligue 1 title for the club would add even more incentive for Giroud to remain in Montpellier.

"At the start of the season, we weren't thinking about Montpellier [as title rivals]," PSG's Nene said, "but we saw that they're not joking around, and that they have the qualities to be where they are today."

Before PSG and Montpellier cap the week's action Sunday, there are seven games Saturday and two earlier Sunday.

On Saturday, Ajaccio hosts Brest, Caen hosts Evian, Dijon hosts Nice, Lorient hosts Lille, Nancy hosts Toulouse, Sochaux hosts Auxerre, and Marseille hosts Valenciennes.

Also Sunday, Bordeaux hosts Lyon and St Etienne hosts Rennes.