PSG, Angers clash in Cup final
Paris Saint-Germain are hoping to put the disappointment of failing to win the Ligue 1 title behind them by getting the better of Angers SCO in the 100th Coupe de France final on Saturday.
Coupe de France final
Stade de France (kick-off 21:00 CET)
Angers SCO - Paris Saint-Germain
PSG coach Unai Emery fell short of his two main objectives in his first season in charge at the Parc des Princes, with the capital club losing their Ligue 1 crown to AS Monaco and being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the last 16 by FC Barcelona. In that context, lifting the Coupe de France for the third season running would not completely make up for those failures, but it would allow them to end the campaign on a high note.
Paris have already won the Trophée des Champions and the Coupe de la Ligue in Emery's first season, trouncing Monaco 4-1 in the final of the latter in Lyon last month. They have won their last 31 domestic Cup ties since Montpellier Hérault SC ousted them from the Coupe de France in the last 32 in January 2014 and now they are hoping to win this competition for a record 11th time - they are currently level on 10 triumphs with Olympique de Marseille.
"We are focused on this final. It is a good challenge because it is the 100th edition of the Coupe de France. Today we have the same number of titles as Marseille, so that makes this final even more important," remarked Emery on Friday.
"All week the players have been fully focused. They want to end this season with a trophy. We will respect Angers, who have had a great season and deserve their place in the final. It will be a special day. We will be playing in a full stadium with a great atmosphere. It is the best way to finish the season."
PSG, who beat Monaco 5-0 in the semi-finals and have scored 22 goals without reply on their way to the final, are without the injured Layvin Kurzawa and Thomas Meunier at the Stade de France. Youngsters Christopher Nkunku and Jean-Kévin Augustin are with the France squad at the under-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Highlights: PSG win 2-0 in Angers in April
Angers chase first major trophy
It is a historic occasion for Angers, whose only previous appearance in the final came in 1957, when they lost 6-3 to Toulouse in Colombes. Stéphane Moulin's team are fresh from finishing 12th in Ligue 1 to secure top-flight football for a third season running and now they are dreaming of winning the club's first piece of major silverware.
Angers have already beaten three Ligue 1 sides in SM Caen, Girondins de Bordeaux and EA Guingamp en route to the final. They are also fresh from winning their last two league games of the campaign, but Moulin knows they must raise their game further against PSG, who won both league encounters between the sides this season.
"For there to be a real match, we will need to perform above our level and hope our opponents have a bit of an off day," Moulin said. "That is sort of what happened when we played them in the league - we forced them to play below their best level.
"This is the smallest budget in Ligue 1 against the biggest. It is fabulous that we have got here. It wasn't so very predictable. We are going to try to pull off an exploit because it would be inconceivable for them not to win. But we will play our game, and you never know," added Moulin, who is expected to start Nicolas Pépé on the right wing.
If Angers win they will qualify for next season's UEFA Europa League. However, if PSG - who are already into next season's Champions League, triumph, a Europa League berth will go to Bordeaux, who finished sixth in Ligue 1.
Angers: Letellier; Cissokho, Traoré, Thomas, Manceau; N'Doye (c), Santamaria, Mangani; Pépé, Diedhiou, Toko Ekambi
Paris SG: Aréola; Aurier, Marquinhos, Silva (c), Maxwell; Verratti, Rabiot, Matuidi; Di María, Cavani, Draxler