Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr., Lionel Messi, PSG
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Mbappé, Neymar, Messi flying ahead of Classique

Mbappé, Neymar, Messi flying ahead of Classique

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Publish on 04/14 at 18:15

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Paris Saint-Germain's star strike force - Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi - are clicking into gear at the right time with Classique rivals Olympique de Marseille up next for the champions-elect.

Olympique de Marseille - Paris Saint-Germain

 

- kick-off: Sunday, 19:45 GMT

 

>> LIVE SCORING, STATS AND COMMENTARY

 

League leaders PSG head to Marseille's Orange Vélodrome on Sunday with a 12-point cushion on their second-placed hosts, meaning victory would put the capital club 15 points clear with just 18 left to play for.

 

Mauricio Pochettino and some of his players have endured a difficult time from certain quarters of the Paris support in recent weeks, but PSG have steadied the ship since losing 3-0 to AS Monaco in Round 29, putting five goals past FC Lorient and then six past Clermont Foot 63 last Saturday.

 

MNM sweet as ever

 

Sergio Ramos was given a rare start at centre-back against Clermont - a game with saw Mbappé and Neymar grab a hat-trick each; and Messi a hat-trick of assists - but Marquinhos should be back to lead the team out in Marseille.

 

PSG will undoubtedly be at full strength in the biggest game of the season, with the weight of le Classique not lost on a coach who previously played in six iterations of this fixture as a centre-back between 2001 and 2003.

 

Watch: Highlights of PSG's 6-1 win at Clermont



"Twenty-one years ago, when I signed for this club, I understood that this game was different," he said after the Clermont triumph. "It's still special to play against Marseille. I was captain, now I'm a coach. I'm proud of what I gave and what I'll be able to give for this club. I hope the fans will be with us.

 

“We know they're not happy, we're in a democracy, they have the right to demonstrate, to protest. We hope they'll leave their anger aside. It's important to present ourselves well, to be united for 90 minutes."

 

PSG have a number of injury concerns, with Keylor Navas (groin), Ander Herrera (eye), Layvin Kurzawa (back), Abdou Diallo (groin), Julian Draxler (knee) and Leandro Paredes (groin) all missing games in recent weeks, but such is their strength in depth they remain betting favourites.

 

Marseille marching on

 

Not that Marseille will make things easy for their great rivals. Jorge Sampaoli's men are second in the table on 59 points, in pole position to join PSG in automatic qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League group stage.

 

OM have also won have won each of their last seven games in all competitions, most recently beating Montpellier Hérault SC last Sunday thanks to goals from Bamba Dieng and Cengiz Under.

 

Whether both start in the final third remains to be seen, with Pochettino's fellow Argentine tactician Sampaoli having leaned on his whole squad this season. Les Phocéens lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in holding PSG to a goalless draw last November, though, and can be expected to do the same on Sunday.

 

Watch: Highlights of Marseille's 2-0 win over Montpellier



"We've been playing the same way since the start of the season," said club captain Dimitri Payet - somewhat overlooking the fact that Marseille have lined up with a back four 18 times in the current campaign and a back three 13 times.

 

"PSG build from the back, but they don't really have a defined style of play. They have possession because they have the players for it, but they're not organised like us."

 

Payet up top

 

Fighting talk from Payet, who is likely to lead the line in the continued injury absence of Arkadiusz Milik. Konrad De La Fuente, who like Milik, has a thigh injury, is also missing, while Leonardo Balerdi has recently undergone surgery on his shoulder.

 

William Saliba, Duje Caleta-Car and Luan Peres - three of a possible Marseille back four (or three!) - are one booking away from a suspension, as is midfielder Pape Gueye, but Sampaoli is unlikely to rest any of them as OM chase a first win in this fixture since September 2020 - one that would cement their grip on second.

 

Possible teams

 

Marseille: Mandanda; Rongier, Saliba, Caleta-Car, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, P. Gueye; Under, Gerson, Harit; Payet

 

PSG: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; I. Gueye, Pereira, Verratti; Messi, Mbappé, Neymar