Neymar Jr. is set to feature for Paris Saint-Germain against Olympique de Marseille in the Trophée des Champions on Wednesday after overcoming an ankle injury picked up against Olympique Lyonnais in December.
Paris Saint-Germain - Olympique de Marseille
- Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Neymar had plundered nine goals and five assists in all competitions - coming in at a rate of one every 68 minutes played by the Brazilian - before compatriot Thiago Mendes tackled through his ankle deep into injury time of PSG's 1-0 loss to Lyon in Ligue 1 Uber Eats Round 14.
Things have picked up for club and player since. The capital appointed Mauricio Pochettino as Thomas Tuchel's successor in January, the Argentine stretching their undefeated run to five games since that OL reverse; while Neymar has been working on a speedy return to first-team action - a race he now looks to have won.
"Neymar Jr. is available," Pochettino told media ahead of a match that could give him his first silverware as PSG coach just 11 days into the job. "And we'll decide on Wednesday morning if he plays or not.
Watch: Highlights of PSG's 1-0 loss to Lyon in December
Pochettino oversaw his first win last Saturday, Moise Kean, Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia scoring in a 3-0 victory over Stade Brestois 29 at the Parc des Princes. Kylian Mbappé assisted Icardi's goal at the weekend and could start for the third time in eight days, although Pochettino kept his cards close to his chest in that regard.
"Kylian Mbappé's in perfect shape," he said. "Like for Neymar, we're thinking about various options for tomorrow in order to be as competitive as possible."
Pochettino won the UEFA Intertoto Cup as a PSG player back in 2001 and most recently led Tottenham Hotspur to the UEFA Champions League final in 2019, although - perhaps surprisingly for a manager of such prestige - Wednesday's fixture could be his first major team honour as a coach. The gravity of the game is not lost on him.
"It's a special match," he continued. "For one thing because it's against our rivals, Marseille. We know what that means, for the fans, for the people who work at the club, and for us.
We're proud to represent Paris in these sorts of games.
"More than the trophy, we know we have to win the game. The most important thing is to win. Our goal is to make our supporters happy. If we win, then yes, we'll pick up a trophy, but for me, I'll be most proud of winning."
Kimpembe, Paredes available
Presnel Kimbembe, Leandro Paredes and Danilo are - like Neymar - also available for selection once more after overcoming injury, but Rafinha, Thilo Kehrer and Colin Dagba are in isolation following positive coronavirus tests.
PSG may be record nine-time winners of this competitions, winning each of the last seven Trophée des Champions showpieces, but they may not have things all their own way against Cassique trivals Marseille.
Watch: Highlights of OM's 1-0 victory over PSG in September
OM won the last meeting between the sides, Florian Thauvin's strike enough to give André Villas-Boas's men all three points in September, and Pochettino's opposite number is in no mood to throw in the towel before a ball is kicked.
'Humility, aggression and intensity'
"Fans demand that we play these matches with aggression and authority," he said on Monday. "The match at the Parc des Princes was out of control at the end, but that was more because of provocation. So we'll go with humility, but also aggression and intensity."
Marseille will be without Jordan Amavi at RC Lens's Stade Bollaert-Delelis due to a thigh injury, but Morgan Sanson has shaken off a groin complaint and should be fit to play. Japan full-back Yuto Nagatomo is in line to stand in for the former.
PSG: Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Bakker; Paredes, Danilo, Verratti; Di Maria, Icardi, Neymar
Marseille: Mandanda; Sakai, Alvaro, Caleta-Car, Nagatomo; Rongier, Kamara, Sanson; Thauvin, Benedetto, Payet