Paris: Having stolen a march on their rivals for a Champions League place, Lille can close to within six points of Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain if they win at bottom club Sochaux on Wednesday.
After being eliminated from both domestic cup competitions in the space of a month and then falling to an embarrassing 5-4 loss at home to Bordeaux, the reigning champions stopped the rot with a 1-0 success at Lorient on Sunday.
Coupled with setbacks for Lyon, Marseille and Rennes, it enabled Lille to finish the weekend with a three-point cushion in third place and they will expect to hammer home their advantage at Mehmed Bazdarevic's beleaguered Sochaux.
Lille coach Rudi Garcia has been insistent in recent weeks that his side are only aiming for a top-three finish, but victory at Stade Bonal would give 'Les Dogues' faint hope of retaining their crown ahead of the final 14 games of the season.
"This victory gives us a good dose of confidence before going to Sochaux, where we'll have to continue our series of away matches (three in succession) with another victory," said striker Nolan Roux after the win at Lorient.
Sochaux finished fifth last season but were unsettled by the pre-season departure of coach Francis Gillot and have sunk to the bottom of the standings after going 10 games without a win in the top flight.
"We have to stay positive," said Bazdarevic. "Unfortunately, we need points, and we have to score goals. We're going to keep on working and we'll try to do something against Lille on Wednesday.
Saint-Etienne's 4-0 thrashing of Rennes on Sunday thrust them into European contention and Christophe Galtier's side, currently sixth, will leapfrog Marseille and local rivals Lyon into fourth place if they win at home to Lorient.
Having climbed to 15th following a shock win at Lyon and a 2-2 draw at home to Evian on Saturday, Caen play host to under-achieving Auxerre, whose goalless draw at Sochaux at the weekend left them mired in the bottom three.
Caen v Auxerre, Saint-Etienne v Lorient, Sochaux v Lille