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Monaco, Marseille and Saint-Etienne fight for 3rd place in final round of French league

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MONACO — With the top two places already set, the only thing to be decided in the last round of the French league is which team will finish third and take the final Champions League spot.

Monaco, which plays at Lorient, holds a two-point lead over Marseille and Saint-Etienne, who have home games against Bastia and Guingamp, respectively.

Paris Saint-Germain clinched a third straight title last weekend, and Lyon is guaranteed to finish second.

Here are some things to know about Saturday's games:


GIGNAC'S FAREWELL

It will be an emotional night for striker Andre-Pierre Gignac as he bids farewell to the Marseille fans after five eventful seasons.

Gignac, who is now adored by the Marseille fans, was derided by them when he arrived from Toulouse in 2010.

Struggling with weight and fitness problems, Gignac scored only nine league goals in the first two seasons — and the merciless Marseille fans even nicknamed him "Big Mac Gignac" because of his love of fast food.

But he turned his form around, getting better each year, as he scored 13 league goals the next season, 16 last season and 21 this campaign. Gignac's contract expires in June and he is reportedly looking for a club either in England or Spain.

Gignac has scored 77 goals in 186 games for Marseille and the Stade Velodrome crowd will give him an emotional send off after Saturday's home game against Bastia.


LOOKING ELSEWHERE

Lens coach Antoine Kombouare is "90 percent" sure he will leave the club after it was relegated to the second division.

The former PSG coach said he is looking at possibilities of coaching another club in France or in another country.

"As things stand, I would like to find an ambitious project in France or abroad, in England for example," said Kombouare, who played as a central defender for Scottish club Aberdeen from 1996-99.

Lens, which was promoted last season, will finish last.

"I feel that we didn't do our jobs properly," Kombouare said. "I feel ashamed."


SELECTION ISSUES

With Paris Saint-Germain aiming to become the first French side to win the domestic treble, coach Laurent Blanc has some selection issues ahead of Saturday's home game against Reims.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available for selection after recovering from a calf injury, but Blanc may not risk him — or other regulars — ahead of the French Cup final against Auxerre on May 30.

But Ibrahimovic will doubtless want to play as he needs only one more goal to reach 20 league goals for the fourth straight season, and fifth time in his career.


GALTIER BOOST

Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier has given the club's fans a boost by hinting he will stay next season.

Galtier, who took charge of Les Verts in 2009, has been linked with a move to a bigger club abroad.

Those rumors were fueled when he said earlier this season that he needed time to think about whether to stay or not. But he now seems more eager for a seventh season in charge.

"We're improving every season," Galtier told RMC radio. "There's a strong chance I'll stay at Saint-Etienne."

Max-Alain Gradel, however, said earlier this week that he will leave the club. The Ivory Coast forward has scored 11 goals in his past 13 games.


SILVA LINING

Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva is making a name for himself after a number of eye-catching performances for Monaco.

Silva, who is 20 years old, joined in the offseason when Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim signed him from Benfica.

The signing surprised many observers, considering Silva had made only one substitute appearance for the Lisbon-based side.

But Jardim, who is also Portuguese and coached Sporting Lisbon last season, has been proved right. Silva has scored nine league goals, including six in his past six games.

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