Ligue 1 2015-16: Gameweek 6 - Preview
Fresh from enjoying a winning start to their Champions League campaign, Paris Saint-Germain can strengthen their position at the top of Ligue 1 when they go to Reims on Saturday.
Paris: Fresh from enjoying a winning start to their Champions League campaign, Paris Saint-Germain can strengthen their position at the top of Ligue 1 when they go to Reims on Saturday.
Laurent Blanc`s side eased to a 2-0 victory against Swedish champions Malmo at the Parc des Princes in midweek thanks to a goal in each half from Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
They are a point clear of Rennes at the top of the French table, and three better off than Reims in third, before heading to Champagne country on Saturday as they look to begin a new winning run.
Last week`s 2-2 draw with Bordeaux ended a run of 13 straight Ligue 1 wins since March and saw them fall short of equalling the top-flight record for consecutive victories set by Blanc`s Bordeaux in 2009.
Reims, meanwhile, have enjoyed a fine start to the season of their own, including beating Bordeaux and Marseille, but coach Olivier Guegan is expecting a tougher test this time.
Guegan watched PSG in action in midweek and said: "They did the essential. They were much better than Malmo and controlled the game without having to force themselves or raise their game.
"It wasn`t vintage Paris but they got the win they wanted and were not far away from scoring a third goal.
"We know what to expect on Saturday. To get a result we`ll need to be at 200 percent. But it will all depend on how motivated and fresh PSG are."
Serge Aurier could return for Paris after missing the Malmo win due to suspension, and Blanc may consider changes with this the first of three league games in eight days.
Before that match, Rennes could provisionally go top of the table with a win when they entertain Lille at Roazhon Park on Friday night.
The Brittany side have risen to second after recording four successive wins, including away at Lyon and then at local rivals Nantes last weekend.
And on Monday they confirmed that enigmatic and injury-prone French international playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, who has been a free agent since leaving Lyon in the summer, would return to his first club once he has recovered from stress fractures under the arch of his foot.
Of his side`s start to the season, Rennes coach Philippe Montanier said: "It`s been a good performance so far but it is the number of points that counts. The table doesn`t mean much. It is just a good thing for the dynamic."The game of the weekend comes at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday, when Marseille host Lyon in the `Olympico`.
The match will see pint-sized Lyon playmaker Mathieu Valbuena return to Marseille for the first time since leaving OM for Dynamo Moscow in August last year.
He was already set for a hostile reception before it emerged this week that he was pursuing his old club in court for 568,000 euros ($640,000; £414,000) in compensation following a dispute with his former agent.
Marseille, who eased past Dutch club Groningen 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday, will be seeking another impressive home win after scoring 10 goals in beating Troyes and Bastia in their first two outings at the Velodrome under recently-appointed coach Michel.
Lyon, meanwhile, have recorded both of their wins so far this season on the road but are coming off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw at nine-man Gent in the Champions League.
"We`ll need to perform better against Marseille if we want to win," warned Lyon right-back Christophe Jallet, who got his side`s goal in Belgium before seeing Alexandre Lacazette miss a late penalty.
Among the weekend`s other games there are derbies between Bordeaux and Toulouse and Bastia and Nice, while Monaco are at home to Lorient on Sunday.
Rennes v Lille (1830GMT)
Reims v Paris Saint-Germain (1530GMT), Caen v Montpellier, Guingamp v Gazelec Ajaccio, Angers v Troyes, SC Bastia v Nice (all 1800GMT)
Bordeaux v Toulouse (1200GMT), Monaco v Lorient, Saint-Etienne v Nantes (both 1500GMT), Marseille v Lyon (1900GMT)