Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

PSG ready for Villefranche, Lille set for Rennes test

Publish on 06/02/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Experienced superstars such as Gianlugi Buffon, Thiago Silva and Dani Alves be key in ensuring there is no Coupe de France upset for holders Paris Saint-Germain when they face amateur outfit Villerfranche-sur-Saône in Wednesday's Last 16 tie.

 Villefranche-sur-Saône - Paris Saint-Germain Logo Paris Saint-Germain

An entire division and light years in terms of financial muscle separate the pair with Villefranche in French football's third tier. They are staging the game in Olympique Lyonnais' Groupama Stadium, the venue where PSG's unbeaten start to the top-flight campaign came to an end on Sunday.

Tuchel, however, is confident his most seasoned squad memberrs will ensure that the Goliath of the tie is ready for anything and everything thrown at them.

"Our responsibility is play to our level, be thorough, and approach the game as we would a Ligue 1 or Champions League match. Players like Buffon, Dani Alves or Thiago Silva have a lot of experience. They're top level players, who play each game with the same attitude. I have faith in my players, they'll be ready. It'll be a Coupe de France game, difficult, against a third division side. It's our responsibility to win it," said the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss, who will make a late decision on the fitness of midfielder Marco Verratti.

"I expect us to dominate the match and to have a lot of possession. Villefranche will sit deep. They usually defend with five at the back, play on the counter-attack, and are very dangerous at set-pieces. My team will have to be thorough, careful, and will have to play with a lot of quality. We'll have to show we're hungry to win. It's a big match for Villefranche, a unique game. We'll have to be ready."

Probable PSG line-up

Areola - Meunier, Marquinhos (c), Kimpembe, N'Soki - Di Maria, Alves, Nkunku, Diaby - Cavani, Mbappé

 Stade Rennais - LOSC Lille  

One top-flight side will fall by the wayside at Roazhon Park, and Lille boss Christophe Galtier is determined it will not be his team who will be deprived a quarter-final berth.

"We're approaching the game as if it's a league match," said Galtier, who has his entire first-team squad available. "We're going to play to win, with great determination to qualify. I have no intention of changing things too much. We're three games away frrom the Stade de France."

Sixteen-goal striker Nicolas Pepe, who struck in last Friday's 4-0 win over OGC Nice, is set to feature alongside another in-form forward, Rafael Leao, as Galtier's team — second in Ligue 1 Conforama — seek a seventh successive win since the turn of the year.

Rennes are now a different proposition to the team beaten in Lille on the opening day of the season, but coach Julien Stéphen must juggle his squad with a host of first-team regulars, including Ramy Bensebaini and James Léa-Siliki, in the treatment room.

Jordan Siebatcheu is expected to lead the line while Saturday's surprise matchwinner against Amiens, Mehdi Zeffane, should also feature.

"Against Rennes, we'll have to be very well organised, and make our opponents run towards their own goal," added Galtier. "We have to go there with the ambition of qualifying. And to do that, we'll have to score goals."

Probable teams

Rennes: Koubek - Traoré, Da Silva, Mexer, Zeffane - Grenier, André (c), Sarr, Ben Arfa, Bourigeaud - Siebatcheu

Lille: Maignan - Celik, Fonte, Soumaoro (c), Koné - Mendes, Xeka - Pepe, Ikoné, Bamba - Leao