PARIS — Montpellier has been playing down its chances of winning a first French league title all season, though Rene Girard's players are now openly declaring their intention to finish ahead of big-spending Paris Saint-Germain with seven rounds left.

Montpellier won 3-1 at Marseille on Wednesday in its game in hand to move three points ahead of PSG at the top. Montpellier also has a better goal difference than PSG.

While PSG is struggling to justify its huge outlay of more than €100 million on new players and a midseason change of coach, Montpellier has earned widespread praise through its exciting brand of football.

Both teams are away this weekend, with PSG at last-place Auxerre and Montpellier visiting 18th-place Lorient.