PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to extend their Ligue 1 unbeaten streak at bitter rivals Marseille on Sunday (Monday in Manila) as the hosts bid to end their own record winless run at home.
Laurent Blanc’s champions stretched their unbeaten run to a record 33 matches with a 3-1 win over Lorient midweek and next tackle Marseille who have not won at their Velodrome Stadium since September.
PSG—with 66 points from 24 games—have an impressive 24-point lead with their fourth consecutive and sixth overall league title beckoning.
Marseille, who claimed the last of their ten Ligue 1 titles back in 2010, are eighth in the league—32 points behind PSG.
A 1-0 victory at Montpellier Tuesday pushed Marseille’s unbeaten league run to 11 matches, with their last away loss a 2-1 defeat to PSG at the Parc de Princes on October 4.
But that impressive statistic conceals misery at their Velodrome stronghold where they have not won since September 13.
Blanc’s side will be looking to further flex their muscles with a Champions League last 16 tie against Chelsea on February 16.
The Parisians have won their past eight “Classique” clashes with Marseille, and another would give them a new record of consecutive wins against their rivals.
But counterpart Michel can count on the support of their loyal fans with PSG’s supporters banned from traveling to Marseille because of security concerns.
Must win match
Marseille will be without newly-signed winger Florian Thauvin after he received a red card against Montpellier, but Scotland striker Steven Fletcher, also a transfer window signing, should give the southern giants fresh legs.
“It’s a match we have to win, for the club, for the fans and above all for us,” said Marseille striker Remy Cabella.
“If we got a result against Paris it would give us a boost.”
Striker Georges-Kévin Nkoudou added: “I know that there is always pressure between Paris and Marseille, but it remains a classic, and it’s up to us to rise to the occasion.”
Second-placed Monaco, 24 points behind PSG, host Nice, three points behind in third, in a classic Riveria derby on Saturday.
The clash is crucial for qualification for elite European football next season, with Monaco’s billionaire Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev making a rare appearance at training to motivate the troops.
“He said some words this morning to motivate us, to wake us up and to take this match seriously,” said Morocco midfielder Nabil Dirar.
Lyon, back into the top half, above 11th-place Bordeaux on goal difference, are six points adrift of the Champions League spots.
Coach Bruno Genesio is hopeful their 3-0 win at Bordeaux with boost his side. “It’s good for morale,” said Genesio. “I hope it will be the spark that will open the way to some good results.”
Lyon travel to Angers, sitting fourth with 37 points, and looking to get back to winning ways after losing 2-1 at Reims, while Bordeaux host fifth-placed Saint-Etienne.
Nantes will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 matches at Toulouse as Lille host Rennes, Guingamp travel to Corsica side Gazelac-Ajaccio and Reims visit Caen.
Tailenders Troyes, who sacked coach Claude Robin after a heavy 4-0 defeat at Guingamp left them 15 points from safety, travel to Bastia on Saturday.