Faltering giants meet in French Ligue 1 Clasico
PARIS PARIS Saint-Germain host Marseille in French football’s biggest fixture on Sunday, with the capital club on the verge of a full-blown crisis and OM desperate to end the worst run of results in its history.
PSG missed the chance to reclaim top spot in Ligue 1 when it lost 2-1 at Nancy last weekend, its first league defeat under Carlo Ancelotti meaning that it has now won just twice in eight matches in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Marseille has gone a club record 10 matches without winning in all competitions following its exit from the Champions League to Bayern Munich at the quarter-final stage in midweek.
That run has drained confidence from the ranks of a Marseille squad that previously appeared as dangerous outsiders in the title race, and it should be ideal opponents for a Paris side feeling the heat as its bid to win a first Ligue 1 crown in 18 years.
However, PSG’s Milan Bisevac is wary of the old adage that form counts for nothing on occasions such as this. “OM remain a very good side. Even though it is struggling a little, anything can happen in this type of match,” insisted the Serbian international defender.
Bisevac emphasised the importance of the occasion and admitted that his teammates want revenge for a 3-0 humbling at the Stade Velodrome in November.
“We need to win this weekend to launch us back on the winning track for the final seven games of the season and the race for the title,” he said. “No-one has forgotten (the game in Marseille). We lost 3-0 and on Sunday we’re going to have to make a good start and stay focused on the one and only priority: defeat OM and take the three points.” Bisevac will be hoping to keep his place in the heart of the Paris defence at the Parc des Princes but he faces stiff competition, with captain Mamadou Sakho a contender to return after being benched at Nancy, and Diego Lugano and Alex also expected to be fit. Ancelotti must also decide whether to recall top scorer Nene after the Brazilian apologised for reacting badly to being dropped last weekend.
Fatigue may be an issue for Marseille, with this game coming hot on the heels of its 2-0 defeat in Munich and ahead of a week which will also see them host Montpellier and face Lyon in the League Cup final at the Stade de France.
However, assistant coach Guy Stephan knows motivation will not be a problem for the OM players.