Olympique Lyonnais are looking to put their stamp on the last ever Coupe de la Ligue BKT Final, but will face a stiff test in the form of the competition's most successful club, Paris Saint-Germain.
Friday, 31 July 2020
Stade de France, Paris
Coupe de la Ligue BKT Final
Paris Saint-Germain - Olympique Lyonnais
- Kick-off at 21:10 CET
Indeed, Paris Saint-Germain have snaffled up no fewer than eight Coupes de la Ligue BKT in the competition's 25 editions thus far, while Olympique Lyonnais have clinched just the one - back in 2001 as they kicked off a dominant run of seven successive Ligue 1 Uber Eats titles.
However, French football's driving force is now located in the country's capital, and OL boss Rudi Garcia is well aware of what it will mean - for the remainder of the season and the campaign to come - if Les Gones can deny the Parisian juggernaut.
Garcia: 'Seize this opportunity'
"We need to seize this opportunity and bring the trophy back to Lyon tomorrow night," said Garcia, who took LOSC to a league and Coupe de France double back in 2011 - the year before Lyon won their last trophy, 2012's Coupe de France. "Opportunities to win trophies are few and far between. We know we are the underdogs, and that PSG are superior. But we also have a high-quality team, we are one step away from qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League."
Garcia was referring of course to Lyon's unfinished Champions League round of 16 tie - football was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic shortly after Les Gones scored a shock 1-0 first-leg win in Lyon - which will be completed in Turin on 7 August.
Paris Saint-Germain are also still in the running in Europe's premier club competition, and thus continental concerns figured heavily in PSG boss Thomas Tuchel's press conference as well.
Asked by all and sundry whether the capital club are already looking ahead to their Champions League quarter-final with dark horses Atalanta on 12 August, Tuchel managed to swing the conversation back to Friday night's clash at the Stade France - a match that could see Paris extend their dominance to nine out of 26 Coupes de le Ligue BKT (after 1994–95, 1997–98, 2007–08, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18).
Tuchel: 'Show our hunger to win'
"It's not possible to prepare for Atalanta because I don't know a team that plays like them," replied the German coach. "It's very special defensively. What we can prepare best, however, is our state of mind, our will to fight. We want to show our hunger to win. It will prepare us if we get a good result against Lyon."
The next-most pressing question was how PSG would cope without injured superstar and this season's club top scorer Kylian Mbappé, who was sidelined for three weeks with a sprained ankle sustained in a horror tackle by Saint-Etienne captain Loïc Perrin as PSG won the Coupe de France 1-0 last Friday night.
Mbappé-less PSG, OL with Depay
"Life without Kylian has a very, very big influence, that's clear," said Tuchel, tipped to field a 4-3-3 with Angel Di Maria, Mauri Icardi and Neymar across the front. "But we're going to find the solution, I hope."
Meanwhile Garcia has superstar Memphis Depay back from an ACL injury and is tipped to pair the Dutchman up front alongside Moussa Dembélé in a 3-4-1-2, with Houssem Aouar assuming playmaking duties in front of Thiago Mendes and last season's star signing Bruno Guimares in the centre of midfield.
Paris Saint-Germain (4-3-3): Navas; Herrera (or Dagba), Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bakker; Marquinhos, Gueye, Verratti; Di Maria (or Sarabia), Icardi, Neymar
Olympique Lyonnais (3-4-1-2): Tatarusanu; Denayer, Marcelo, Marçal; Dubois, Thiago Mendes, Guimaraes, Cornet; Aouar; Memphis Depay, Dembélé