Alexi Flips, Lionel Messi, Reims, Paris

PSG-Reims preview: Messi back for Paris

PSG-Reims preview: Messi back for Paris

Publish on 01/27 at 09:44 - S. TELFORD


Lionel Messi missed Paris Saint-Germain's destruction of US Pays de Cassel in the Coupe de France on Monday but should be back for Sunday's visit of Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 Uber Eats.

Paris Saint-Germain - Stade de Reims




- Kick-off: 19:45 GMT


PSG thrashed the sixth-tier Pays de Cassel 7-0 in their Round of 32 meeting, with Kylian Mbappé scoring five times in the sides' meeting at RC Lens' Stade Bollaert-Delelis.


Messi, having recently played and scored in Paris' 5-4 friendly win over Cristiano Ronaldo's Riyadh Season Team XI in Saudi Arabia, was given the time off on Monday, but he will be restored to the side this weekend.


Attacking reinforcements


Having MNM - Mbappé, Neymar Jr. and Messi - available may be a luxury no other team in the world can boast, but coach Christophe Galtier admits the club are looking for reinforcements in the final third in the January transfer window.


"We're looking for a wide player," he said in response to Pablo Sarabia's recent move to Wolves in the Premier League. "One who's tall, strong, good with both feet and with his head!"


Watch: Highlights of PSG's 1-0 loss at Rennes


The coach was tight-lipped on reports Inter Milan's Martin Skriniar would join the club in the summer, but PSG are spoiled at centre-back too, even with Presnel Kimpembe struggling with an Achilles tendon injury.


Nordi Mukiele has a knock but apart from him and Kimpembe, PSG have a clean bill of health with Marco Verratti and Nuno Mendes ready to return from thigh and hamstring injuries respectively. Hugo Ekitiké will sit out against his parent club, with Mbappé leading the line.


Reims on a run


Reims begin the day 10 places and 22 points worse off than the Ligue 1 Uber Eats leaders, but whist PSG were beaten 1-0 by Stade Rennais FC in their last league outing, Reims held OGC Nice to a goalless draw to make it 11 games without defeat.


They also held Paris 0-0 in October's reverse fixture, with Galtier's opposite number Will Still becoming the first coach to shut out the capital club since last March.


Watch: Highlights of Reims 0-0 draw with Nice

"At basically any point in my life, if someone had told me I’d be the head coach of a Ligue 1 side at 30, I'd have told them to punch me in the face," he wrote in the Coaches' Voice recently.


"The idea that, at 30, I'd be managing a team against Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Sergio Ramos and Marco Verratti, and in the opposition dugout to Christophe Galtier, was equally mad."


Brilliant Balogun


But Still is in place and Reims are on an undefeated run, even if they remain significant underdogs against PSG. The coach is without attacker Noah Holm due to a knee injury, but the form of Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun, scorer of 10 goals this season, assuages that.


Thibault De Smet has a knock and Mitchell van Bergen has been ill of late, but both could feature at the Parc des Princes.


Possible teams


PSG: Donnarumma; Ramos, Marquinhos, Pereira; Hakimi, Ruiz, Vitinha, Bernat; Messi, Neymar; Mbappé


Reims: Diouf; Foket, Agbadou, Abdlehamid, Busi; Munetsi, Matusiwa; Ito, Flips, Van Bergen; Balogun

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