Ligue 1 2012, Week 33 Preview And Fixtures: The Relegation Battle Takes Center Stage Because The Entire League Is Involved

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 04: Paris Saint-Germain FC head coach Carlo Ancelotti during the Dubai Challenge Cup match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and AC Milan at Al-Rashid Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Montpellier and PSG-two of the only teams safe from the drop-continue their fight at the top of the table while the rest of the league descends into chaos.

Brest vs. Rennes

Saturday April 20th; 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM ET

Hey look, it's the opposite-day derby! Relegation and/or European glory is right around the corner! How exciting! Except of course for the teams involved. (Note: this joke would have worked better if Toulouse were involved.)

Pick: Rennes, 2-1

Caen vs. St. Etienne

Saturday April 20th; 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM ET

It's tempting to just glance at the table and say that with Caen in 15th and St. Etienne in 7th that this game isn't all that important. And then you look at the points and remember that Ligue 1 is absolutely, certifiably insane and Caen will probably win the league with St. Etienne in Championnat National somehow.

Pick: St. Etienne, 3-1

Dijon vs. Lille

Saturday April 20th; 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM ET

Lille making the Champions League this season (which they probably will! Amazing!) is like a UPS driver* missing his turn into shipping/receiving and ending up on the final straightaway at Le Mans and winning because all of the other cars blew up.

Pick: Lille, 2-1

*I have no idea whether or not they have UPS in France.

Evian vs. Toulouse

Saturday April 20th; 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM ET

Considering the root similarities between French and English, it's a bit of a surprise to discover that Toulouse is French for Rangers*.

Pick: Toulouse, 1-0

*The full translation is actually "Rangers' second cousin that learned how to balance a checkbook, but same difference."

Montpellier vs. Valenciennes

Saturday April 20th; 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM ET

With Montpellier's ridiculously fun attack garnering most of the coverage, it's easy to forget how good their defense has been this season. But it's been really, really good. If René Girard can manage to keep this team together, someone is going to get a nasty little surprise come Champions League time.

Pick: Montpellier, 3-1

Nice vs. Auxerre

Saturday April 20th; 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM ET

Auxerre isn't climbing out of this hole. Auxerre is getting relegated. In one of the least predictable, craziest leagues in Europe, this is a legitimate shock. I've just typed those last two sentences and I still can't quite believe it.

Pick: Nice, 2-1

Bordeaux vs. Marseille

Saturday April 20th; 9:00 PM CET/3:00 PM ET

It's nice of the FFF to arrange this special, late-season "You Ought To Be Ashamed Of Yourself Cup" competition.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Ajaccio vs. Nancy

Sunday April 21st; 5:00 PM CET/11:00 AM ET

Wait, Nancy is 11th? What? It looks like bond auctions aren't the only thing that's hard to predict in this crazy country! LOL!

Pick: Ajaccio, 2-1

PSG vs. Sochaux

Sunday April 21st; 5:00 PM CET/11:00 AM ET

PSG has pretty much no excuse for this season. Good thing they sacked an honest-to-god club legend and an incredibly promising manager just beginning to come into his own for a low-rent Gallic Jose Mourinho imitator.

Pick: PSG, 1-0

Lyon vs. Lorient

Sunday April 21st; 9:15 PM CET/3:15 PM ET

No matter what, this game is probably going to be super disappointing for someone.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

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