Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 clash with Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday would normally be one of the French game's headline fixtures. However, through a combination of the hosts' prematurely ended season after another UEFA Champions League disaster and the visitor's extended period of difficulty, it has a bit less shine about it than usual. PSG have lost two of their last three across all competitions while Lyon are winless in the same period and Laurent Blanc returns to Parc des Princes to lead a side currently nine points adrift of European qualification. Christophe Galtier comes up against Les Parisiens' winningest head coach under major pressure due to UCL and Coupe de France disappointment while the domestic cup could yet salvage OL's season.
"Lyon are one of the great teams, and they are improving game after game," said Galtier of Les Gones pre-game. "They have a Coupe de France semi-final to play a few days later, which is an important objective for them, but they come to the Parc this Sunday with international-level players, youngsters who are expressing themselves well this season. It will be a difficult match against one of the better sides in the league.
"We have had 10 days to work with a limited number of players. We have taken care of the little injuries, the players are coming back little by little. Tomorrow we will have a session focused on the game. PSG-OL is a classic fixture in this league. We need to get back to winning ways after Rennes, and get back on track in the final sprint. We are talking a lot about the preparation for next season, we are discussing with Luis Campos and the president, but I am mainly focused on the last ten games of the season, looking to clinch the title.
"We will approach these next matches with determination and clarity of mind. If we perform well in the next three matches, we will have a significant advantage. We must not take the easy way out; everything can go very quickly, so we must be vigilant and we must maintain the desire to win matches, the desire to win this title. When we look at the calendar, we will later face teams fighting for survival, or podium contenders, and there will be a lot of matches with high stakes for everyone involved."
Here's our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
- Date: Sunday, Apr. 2 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- Location: Parc des Princes -- Paris, France
- TV: beIN Sports USA | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
- Odds: PSG -250; Draw: +400; OL +600 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
PSG: Neymar and Presnel Kimpembe are long-term absentees but Achraf Hakimi returned to action with Morocco while Marquinhos has been receiving treatment. Carlos Soler and Nordi Mukiele have been ruled out through their respective injuries but Sergio Ramos could yet return.
"During the break, Neymar came in for an evaluation of his ankle post-op," added Galtier. "We are talking with him a lot -- we obviously follow his rehabilitation process. When there is an injury like this one, I like to give the player a bit of space, but we obviously keep in touch very regularly.
"We are of course watching the matches, first of all as supporters of the French team, and we also watch the performances of our players. Leo scored his 800th goal and his 100th goal for the national team, Achraf was able to play against Brazil, which did him good physically and mentally. We always hope the players come back without injury. We always have this apprehension but it hasn't been the case this time."
Lyon: Malo Gusto and Anthony Lopes could miss out although the latter is not yet ruled out after returning to training. Veteran Remy Riou could continue if Lopes does not make it while Sael Kumbedi is Gusto's long-term replacement for OL and should get the nod here.
PSG should have enough to beat Lyon but it really depends on their state of mind. A break from the disappointment of a tough start to 2023 should have done Galtier's men good while Blanc's side know that they face a tough task. The champions should win this one by a goal or two. Pick: PSG 3, Lyon 1.