Paris out to get the party started

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Paris Saint-Germain will hope to cap their Ligue 1-winning season with a final triumph as they host Stade de Reims before the title celebrations begin in earnest at the Parc des Princes.

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With the Coupe de France final against Ligue 2 side AJ Auxerre and the prospect of completing an unprecedented domestic treble still to come on 30 May, the champagne may not flow as freely as it might come the full-time whistle on Saturday evening, but the atmosphere will no doubt be festive.

Matuidi: 'A special taste'

Last weekend's 2-1 victory at Montpellier Hérault SC was more impressive than the one-goal margin of victory suggests, and an eighth successive league win was enough to clinch a third straight top-flight crown, the fifth in Paris' short but glorious history.

"This title has a special taste, it's the third, it was more difficult than the other years," admitted midfielder Blaise Matuidi, whose side only hit top spot after Week 30 having watched first Olympique de Marseille and then Olympique Lyonnais lead the challenge to Paris' crown. "We have often been the hunters in this league, we did what we had to do to win it. We fully deserve this trophy. We're winners, and we have something historic to aim for, but first we're going to savour this victory. Paris Saint-Germain have shown that they're a great team this season."

Marquinhos: 'Even more enjoyable'

"To be champion makes things more comfortable when preparing for this game," defender Marquinhos said. "There's less pressure, but we have one final game to win in front of our fans. It's always fantastic to win trophies. It's a very special moment. It was a little harder to win than last season. We have had to fight to the end, be at 100 per cent, and that makes it even more enjoyable."

Aside from their imperious recent form and unbeaten home record this season, history suggests Paris will sign off on a winning note, even without the services of top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is set to sit out a second successive match with a calf problem. Reims last won a league game in the capital nearly 40 years ago, and lost the corresponding fixture 3-0 last season.

Safe at last

The Champagne side come to the Parc des Princes without pressure, however, having secured their top-flight status with a 1-0 win over Stade Rennais FC last weekend as they registered a second successive victory and a third triumph in their last four matches under interim boss Olivier Guégan.

"We were in a delicate position, but we have turned things round. We mustn't hide the fact we had difficulties and we must learn lessons for next season," warned Guégan, who took over when Jean-Luc Vasseur was sacked in early April.


The winning goal against Rennes came from Gaëtan Charbonnier, and he and another former Paris striker, David Ngog, will pose the main threat to the hosts' ambitions of ending the Ligue 1 season on a high note.

"I had some great times in Paris. I came through the youth academy there, it's a real pleasure to go back to that stadium and play there," Ngog, who made 18 Ligue 1 appearances in total for the club he supported growing up in the Paris suburbs.


Probable teams

Paris Saint-Germain: Douchez; Aurier, Thiago Silva (c), David Luiz, Maxwell; Verratti, Thiago Motta, Matuidi; Pastore, Cavani, Lavezzi

Stade de Reims: Agassa; Conté, Mandi, M. Fofana, Signorino; Mfulu, Albaek, Oniangué (c); Moukandjo (or Fortes), Ngog, Diego




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