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Paris begin Coupe defence

Publish on 06/01/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Paris Saint-Germain begin their campaign for a fifth-straight Coupe de France title with a trip to Brittany to face minnows GSI Pontivy while arch-rivals Marseille look to get back on track away to National 2 side Andrézieux.

Paris Saint-Germain have a near-perfect record under new coach Thomas Tuchel, but Sunday night provides an opportunity for a serious blemish as the capital club - the competitions's most successful club with 12 wins - put their title on the line away to Brittany minnows GSI Pontivy.

"It's not easy to prepare for a match like this one," admitted Tuchel, who will be without Edinson Cavani, Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti for the trip west. "They haven't played since the draw, so it has been tough to find tape. They're a side from the fifth division, so we're obviously the favourites and we want to win, that's completely clear. It's not a match like all the others, but the focus is on us and I expect my players to give it top priority. When you play for PSG, you have to be serious and intense and play to win."

Turnaround required

Meanwhile, PSG's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille will be out to right the ship after hitting a slump late in 2018 - Rudi Garcia's side are winless in six matches in all competitions - as they travel to National 2 (D4) outfit Andrézieux.

"I have a lot of respect for amateur clubs," intoned Garcia, whose side will contest the tie at AS Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. "We've studied them and gathered intel. They're a well organised side and we will have to be at our best. The message for the players has been to be at 100% and not spare the horses."

Henry looks for fresh start

Embattled Monaco travel to face National 3 (D5) side Canet-en-Roussillon looking to turn things around after winning just two of their last seven outings in all competitions and spending all of November and December in the Ligue 1 Conforama relegation zone.

Stiff tests

Toulouse FC and OGC Nice provide the round's only all-Ligue 1 Conforama clash in a remake of the 1-1 draw from Week 9 of the league campaign. After an unbeaten run of eight matches in all competitions, Patrick Vieira's Aiglons lost their last two outings for 2018 and will be looking to go one better this time around and get 2019 off to a strong start.

Saint-Etienne head to France's east to take on amateur side Olympique Strasbourg, while Stade de Reims take on Domino's Ligue 2 side RC Lens. Rennes also face second-tier opposition in the form of Brittany rivals Brest, as do Bordeaux, who are set to play host to Le Havre.