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Montpellier HSC vs Olympique Lyonnais preview : Montpellier in danger of relegation, Lyon on the rise

Montpellier are dangerously close to the relegation zone in Ligue 1 heading into the weekend, having failed to win any of their last four league games (2D, 2L) and just one of their last 11 (5D, 5L). After being dumped out of the Coupe de France by Nice (1-4), they need three points against Lyon on Sunday, one of the five teams below them in the standings before this round.

La Paillade, who won the reverse fixture 4-1 in August, should be capable of achieving that goal. However, such big wins have been rare, with Montpellier not scoring more than once in a league game since late October. In Ligue 1, they have drawn more home games than any other team this season (seven) and won only once (2L).

Lyon, despite their struggles, have put together a run of four wins in six games to move out of the relegation zone heading into this matchday. They are ahead of Montpellier on goal difference only, and since all five of Les Gones’ league wins this season have come with a clean sheet, they are building a solid foundation to leapfrog their hosts.

Manager Pierre Sage has transformed things since his appointment in late November (7W, 4L), with improvements in Ligue 1 and progress in the Coupe de France, where Lyon knocked out Lille on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals. That victory was their first in 2023/24 against one of the top four teams in the league. If they can take confidence into this weekend and record a third consecutive away win, they could find themselves as high as 12th by Sunday evening.

Key Players: Teji Savanier is undoubtedly Montpellier’s dangerman, with eight goal contributions this season (4 goals, 4 assists) and six in his last seven games against Lyon (4 goals, 2 assists). In-form Alexandre Lacazette will be looking to outshine him, having scored eight times in his last four Ligue 1 meetings with Montpellier, including a quadruple in Lyon’s 5-4 comeback win last season.

Hot stat: The team that has opened the scoring in each of Lyon’s last seven matches has gone on to win.

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