Ligue 1 2012, Week 37 Preview And Fixtures: MHSC, PSG and Lille To the Champions League, Lyon To Europa; That's Literally All We Know

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 18: Javier Pastore of Paris Saint-Germain is seen with the ball during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and LOSC Lille Metropole on December 18, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Montpellier, PSG and Lille are still in the title race. Teams 4-8 in are play for Europa. Teams 13-20 may/may not be fighting relegation. Yep, sounds like Ligue 1 to me.

With just two games remaining in the 2011/12 season, three teams still have a shot at the title, four teams are in the Europa League mix and seven teams are still in genuine danger of being relegated. Will things be any clearer after Sunday? No, of course not. What kind of an idiotic question is that.

Nancy vs. St. Etienne

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Nancy's season is all but done, with a top-half finish out of reach but upper-mid-table respectability looking secure. It's St. Etienne that has it all to play for in this one, with 5th place and a Europa League spot tantalizingly (or as tantalizing as the Europa League can be) close. Nancy look to have a bit of an edge here with Stade Marcel Picot having been a tough place to take full points this season, but you can never underestimate the impact of a team having something tangible to shoot for. Assuming you believe that is at all a factor, which would imply that you don't think professional athletes are competitive to a degree not really understandable by most normal people.
Pick: St. Etienne, 2-1

Montpellier vs. Lille

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Any points for Montpellier would render Lille's title hopes obsolete, but it's tough to imagine MHSC playing for a draw. Not just in this game, in general. If Lille can pull off the upset win, the Ligue 1 title race will have become just as absurd as the relegation battle and though neutrals the world over love an underdog champion, they love zanarchy even more.
Pick: Montpellier, 2-1

Marseille vs. Auxerre

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
If someone had told you Auxerre's Ligue 1 status would be largely determined by their ability to pull off a win at the Stade Vélodrome on the next-to-last day of the season, they'd have been shocked. Probably not as shocked as they would have been had you told them that 20th placed team in the league saw doing such a thing as eminently possible, however.
Pick: Marseille, 4-2

Dijon vs. Toulouse

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Ooh, this one impacts two of the races! Toulouse are on the outside of the Europe League fight, but the window is open and it's one of those houses you see at the beach where the whole front room is a window. Someone needs to tell Rennes to put on some damned pants.
Pick: Toulouse, 1-0

Nice vs. Evian

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Of the clubs that could still conceivably be relegated, Nice is in the most comfortable position; one of the two clubs in the relegation zone would need to make up the three point gap and Caen would need to make up an eight-goal difference. It's possible, certainly, but it's not likely. Speaking of unlikely, Evian is going to finish in the top ten and may well end up ahead of L'OM.
Pick: Evian, 2-1

Caen vs. Sochaux

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
This is by far the biggest contest in terms of the relegation battle, with neither side currently in the bottom three but each well within its grasp. This is also likely to be the most entertaining and/or hilarious game of the weekend, with both teams boasting somewhat competent attacks and defenses that have given up 112 goals between the two of them.
Pick: Caen, 4-3

Ajaccio vs. Lyon

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Lyon has all but wrapped up 4th place and a trip to the Europa League, which is a definite step down from their usual standard but far better than it looked as though things might turn out earlier in the season. Ajaccio has fared better than many thought they would coming into the season, but they're in a vulnerable position heading into the final two games. Ajaccio has been quite decent at home while Lyon's form has taken a massive dip on away trips, but the gap in quality is big enough that Ajaccio is going to be hard-pressed to pick up more than a point. That may well be enough, but then again it may well not.
Pick: Lyon, 3-1

Brest vs. Valenciennes

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Valenciennes is safe; Brest is not. Neither of these teams score goals. The end.
Pick: Draw, 0-0

PSG vs. Rennes

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Hey, another two-fer! PSG has no business being in the position where they absolutely have to win, but you've been listening to me complain about the reasons why it's happened for months now. They'll still probably end up buying a Champions League title in a few years, and at least that's better than Barcelona winning again.
Pick:

Bordeaux vs. Lorient

Sunday 5/13; 21:00 CET/3:00 PM ET
Lorient is probably safe. Bordeaux is probably not getting into Europa League. Way to be boring, jerks.
Pick: Draw, 1-1

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