PREVIEW: SAINT ETIENNE – OLYMPIQUE LYON
Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne will test their current spurt of wins against a formidable Lyon squad in the much-awaited derby on Saturday evening.
Bocanegra can expect to bolster the backline of the Stephanois defense in his 19th appearance in the green and white.
Situated 40 miles from each other, the two meet in their 101st derby, in which the Stephanois have been victorious 39 times and have shared the spoils 31 times.
Having won their last two games, the Greens come into Saturday's face-off with a chance to enter the Europe-bound echelons of La Ligue, only two points behind Paris Saint-Germain, who are in second.
Lyon haven't won in their last two Ligue 1 games, the most recent a scoreless draw when Girondins de Bordeaux came to town. Bafetimbi Gomis and Lisandro Lopez will look to turn the tide, each having notched eight goals this season.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and offensive threat Yoann Gourcuff return from action with Les Bleus in their 1-0 victory over Brazil on Wednesday. Hormis Dejan Lovren also returns from international action with Croatia to replace Pape Diakhaté, who is suspended
St. Etienne's Dimitri Payet makes a return to Christopher Galtier's lineup after a move to Paris St-Germain was aborted at the close of the transfer window.
The team's leading scorer stole the show last time the two met in August in Lyon, with a 75th minute blazing free kick to take the 1-0 victory.