Bordeaux coach Marius Tresor has told his side they must win Saturday's match against Rennes to keep themselves in the battle for fourth place beneath the emerging 'mini-league' formed by Ligue 1's leading pack.
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While Paris St Germain, Lyon and Marseille scrap it out for the top three places, a gap has developed before the battle for fourth begins.
Rennes hold that coveted spot, which comes with the final European place attached, six points behind the leaders going into the weekend but three ahead of seventh-placed Bordeaux.
"The first three teams are detached and a mini-league has formed at the top of the table," Tresor told the club's website.
"Teams like Valenciennes, Rennes, Nice, Bordeaux and St Etienne are held together in a handkerchief. It is against these teams we need to take the points if we are to finish fourth and get into Europe."
However, Tresor recognises that will be easier said than done.
"I'd like to see Bordeaux win at Rennes and we already have done, when, in the year we won the title, we went there and won 3-2 despite being reduced to 10 men. That gave us good momentum.
"Why not repeat this victory? Last year we lost 1-0 in a nothing match for us before the winter break, so we know we will have to go all-out to win."
Rennes defender Jean Armel Kana-Biyik has declared himself fit for the match despite missing training for much of the week with a hamstring problem.
He too recognises how decisive this match could prove in the battle for Europe.
"They are a tough to team to handle as they can impose themselves," he said. "But this is about fourth place and we will give everything to stay there."