Lionel Messi is set to make his home debut for Paris Saint-Germain as the capital club face their toughest test of the Ligue 1 Uber Eats season so far against Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain - Olympique Lyonnais Sunday at 20:45 CET (1845 GMT)
PSG against OL is one of the classic fixtures in the Ligue 1 calendar, between the two most successful clubs in the French game over the last two decades. Paris and Lyon have each been champions seven times in the 20 seasons prior to this one, and these are the two richest clubs in Ligue 1 too in terms of revenue.
However, OL have not reclaimed the crown since their run of seven titles in a row ended in 2008. They have struggled to keep up with the PSG juggernaut in recent years and wins against the capital club have been rare. Then again, Lyon have claimed five victories over them in the last decade, more than any other club since the Qatari takeover of PSG in 2011. One of those wins came in this very fixture last season, when Tino Kadewere’s goal secured a 1-0 victory behind closed doors and helped Lyon top the table halfway through the campaign.
Highlights: PSG crush Clermont
They fell away and ultimately missed out on a podium place, meaning they were in Europa League action in midweek while PSG were involved in the Champions League. However, Peter Bosz’s side triumphed 2-0 away to Rangers in Glasgow with a Karl Toko-Ekambi strike and an own goal handing them a third straight win in all competitions.
Moussa Dembélé has scored four goals in the last three Ligue 1 outings, Lucas Paquetá is in form and Jerome Boateng got his first start for his new club against Rangers. The outlook for Lyon is much brighter now than it was when the season began with just one point taken from a possible nine.
There is further potential good news for them. Kylian Mbappé - who has scored eight goals against Lyon, more than against any other opponent - is a fitness concern after suffering a foot injury in PSG’s 1-1 draw with Club Brugge in Belgium in the Champions League. Georginio Wijnaldum has also been nursing a knock suffered in that match.
Highlights: Lyon find form with win against Strasbourg
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have come in for much criticism for their display in that game, although they were without the likes of Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Angel di Maria. The latter two were serving suspensions in Europe and can return to the team at the Parc des Princes, but once again the spotlight will largely be on Messi.
Messi made his first Paris start in Bruges and teamed up with Neymar and Mbappe for the first time. There was to be no first goal in his new colours, although he did crack a shot off the bar in the first half. Now he needs a run of games to really settle in and he should enjoy that with PSG also facing FC Metz and Montpellier Hérault SC in the next week before welcoming Manchester City in a Champions League blockbuster on September 28.
What they’re saying
Mauricio Pochettino (PSG coach): “I was already saying it before Bruges. We need time for the players to get to know each other’s game, to develop a connection. We have a team with an enormous amount of talent so that should it make it easy for them to develop that affinity. (On Mbappé) He trained with the rest of the squad, albeit while taking certain precautions. We will see how he feels on Sunday morning as to whether he can be in the squad.”
Peter Bosz (Lyon coach): “Of course we have something to lose. We have three points to lose. We have won our last three matches, and we have not just won. Little by little we are getting better. I always look first of all at my team. Of course, we know the players PSG have and we will set ourselves up to play against them. But we have our way of playing and we will see if we can apply it at the Parc des Princes. It is an important match and a game we want to win, as simple as that.”
Paris SG: Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Herrera, Paredes, Gueye; Di Maria, Messi, Neymar
Lyon: Lopes; Gusto, Boateng, Denayer, Emerson; Caqueret, Guimaraes; Shaqiri, Paqueta, Aouar; Toko Ekambi