Paris: Lyon coach Claude Puel is considering resting his key players for Friday's French league match against Nancy because he wants to keep them fresh for next week's Champions League game against Real Madrid.
Although Lyon is fighting for the French title, Puel said his players risk burning out as the seven-time former champions face a busy schedule with seven matches over the next month.
"I must admit that I'm still asking myself that question. I have several options and I haven't decided yet," Puel said. "If I do have to (make changes) it will be up front because it's always in that sector that you need the maximum freshness."
Puel could replace his forwards — Bafetimbi Gomis or Lisandro Lopez — with Jimmy Briand as well as bringing in Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic in a straight swap for France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.
"Jimmy is a player who never gives up and works hard every day in training. He's always in a good mood even though I know he's not happy about not playing," Puel said. "Regarding Miralem, I have no worries about him either. It's true that he has the same profile as Yoann Gourcuff."
Lyon plays Real Madrid at home on Tuesday, and then travels to play French leader Lille next weekend.
"I know it's not easy for certain players, but they must know that we're entering a period where we will have games every three days," Puel said. "Unlike January or February, everyone will fully participate in these matches."
After a difficult start to the season, Lyon fans are warming to Puel — especially after last weekend's 4-1 win at rival Saint-Etienne.
But Puel is worried that some of his players may neglect Nancy and are already thinking about taking on Madrid.
"It's something to take into account. The game against Nancy isn't a match that grabs the headlines but it's undoubtedly the kind of match that reveals the big teams," Puel said. "Honestly, what's the point of winning 4-1 at Saint-Etienne if we don't get a good result at home to Nancy?"
Lille faces a tough trip to seventh-place Montpellier on Sunday.
The team is five points clear of Rennes at the top of the league and is now unbeaten in 13 matches, last losing to Marseille at home on Oct. 24.
Marseille, which hosts Manchester United in the Champions League next Wednesday, is in third place and trails Lille by six points. Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain are both seven points behind Lille with 15 games remaining.
On Saturday, it's: Auxerre vs. Arles-Avignon; Brest vs. Monaco; Caen vs. Valenciennes; Lens vs. Sochaux; Marseille vs. Saint-Etienne; and Lorient vs. Bordeaux.
PSG needs Brazilian midfielder Nene to rediscover his scoring touch. He has not scored in six matches and PSG has dropped valuable points in the last two games: losing 1-0 at Rennes and drawing 0-0 at home to Lens last weekend.
Also Sunday, PSG is at Nice and Rennes travels to Toulouse.