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[Soccer] Lyon on verge of record sixth French title


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LYON, April 17 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon are poised to set a record of six consecutive league titles if they beat Stade Rennes at home in a rescheduled Ligue 1 game on Wednesday.

Lyon will be at full strength to clinch the win which would give them an unassailable lead of 20 points with six games remaining.

Should they succeed, they would become the first team from one of the big five European Leagues (England, Germany, Italy, France and Spain) to achieve the feat.

'It would be wonderful to clinch our sixth title in front of our supporters,' playmaker Juninho told reporters on Tuesday.

'I never believed we would win more titles after the third one,' added the Brazilian, who along with Sidney Govou, Gregory Coupet and Claudio Cacapa remain from the 2002-title winning side.

Juventus (1931-35), Torino (1943-1949, no national league was held in Italy in seasons 1943-44 and 1944-45) and Real Madrid (1961-65 and 1986-90) all won five consecutive titles.

'To win this sixth title will be another step forward and it will not be the end of the story. We are going to increase our budget to close the gap with the best clubs in Europe. We are ambitious,' said chairman Jean-Michel Aulas.

Lyon coach Gerard Houllier, who joined from Liverpool at the start of the 2005-2006 season and led them to their fifth title, warned his player they still had to 'make a last effort'.

'We have to win a last fight against Rennes and it will be a hard one. Then, we'll have to honour our title until the end of the season. Things are looking very promising,' said.

Should they defeat Rennes, Lyon will also set a French record by clinching the title with six games to spare, three less than the previous mark they set in 2005 and 2006.

On 69 points with 21 wins, they also are in a position to beat the 84-point record in a Ligue 1 season they share with Saint-Etienne and the record of 26 victories held by Reims, Monaco and Nantes.

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The French league is pretty poor though really, Lyon are the only decent team in France. I remember talking to you about this on MSN...Olympiakos or some other Greek team got 9 titles in a row :p.

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The French league is pretty poor though really, Lyon are the only decent team in France. I remember talking to you about this on MSN...Olympiakos or some other Greek team got 9 titles in a row :p.

True Lyon are like the moneybags of French League...they could quite possibly afford anyone if they wanted them only problem with their game really is the CL they don't seem to reach potential there...

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Lyon were crowned French champions for a record sixth successive season after nearest rivals Toulouse lost at Rennes.

Gerard Houllier's team are now 17 points clear of second-placed Lens, who took second spot in the table following their 2-0 victory over Le Mans.

It is the first time a club has achieved this feat in the league since the competition started back in 1932.

Jacques Santini won the first before Paul Le Guen led Lyon to the next three, and Houllier for five and six.

St Etienne and Marseille held the previous record of four consecutive league titles.

St Etienne were crowned from 1967 to 1970 while Marseille were champions from 1989 to 1992.

In 1993, Marseille ended the season top of Ligue 1 for the fifth consecutive year but were stripped of that title for match-fixing.

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