Paris (AFP) – After ruthlessly disposing of German heavyweights Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain will look to shatter Bordeaux’s unbeaten start to the French season on Saturday.
PSG responded to dropping their first points in Ligue 1 at Montpellier last weekend by sweeping aside Bayern 3-0 at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, with Neymar scoring on his return from a toe injury.
The Brazilian was on target along with Edinson Cavani and compatriot Dani Alves as Unai Emery’s team fired an early warning to their European rivals after the club’s record-breaking summer spending spree.
But it was Kylian Mbappe who was singled out for praise after the 18-year-old created the second and third goals for his side’s superstar attack.
“I feel privileged to play alongside him. He’s still a kid, but he’s a great player,” Neymar told Brazilian television after the win over Bayern.
“On the pitch it looks like he’s already 30 years old. I think he’s a player who will do great things and definitely aspire to the Ballon d’Or.”
The capital club lead defending champions Monaco by a point after seven matches while Bordeaux, who last won the French title in 2009, are only four points adrift in third.
Bordeaux rewarded Brazilian forward Malcom this week for his excellent form — he has three goals and four assists already this term — with a contract extension until 2021.
The 20-year-old is relishing testing himself against PSG’s notable Brazilian contingent, many of whom he grew up idolising as a youngster at Corinthians in Sao Paulo.
“It will be a huge match. It’s a difficult fixture ahead of us but we’ll give everything to come away with a result in Paris,” Malcom told the Bordeaux website.
“They are exceptional players, my idols. I hope to have a big match. The goal is to get a good result. I work every day to help the team and I hope it will pay off on Saturday.”
– ‘No euphoria, no depression’ –
Monaco will attempt to shrug off Tuesday’s chastening 3-0 home defeat to Porto in the Champions League when they welcome Montpellier to the principality on Friday.
Leonardo Jardim’s side have made a fine start to their domestic title defence, fuelled by Radamel Falcao’s league-leading 11 goals, but are struggling in Europe with just one point from their opening two group matches.
Marseille are hunting a third straight league win when they travel along the Cote d’Azur to face Nice on Sunday.
“We’ve climbed a rung on the ladder and now we’re just one point shy of fourth, two points shy of third. But we need to stay humble: no euphoria when we win and no depression when we lose,” said Marseille coach Rudi Garcia following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat of Toulouse.
Nice have seemingly turned the corner after a woeful start, collecting seven points from their past three games, but needed to recover from two goals down at home to Angers last week to salvage a 2-2 draw.
Mario Balotelli’s return to form has helped spark their resurgence, with the Italian striker scoring five times over his last four appearances.
Lyon visit Angers, who have drawn five of their seven matches, while Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes go in search of a fifth win in six at home to bottom side Metz.
Friday (all times GMT)
Monaco v Montpellier (1845)
Paris Saint-Germain v Bordeaux (1500), Amiens v Lille, Dijon v Strasbourg, Guingamp v Toulouse, Nantes v Metz, Rennes v Caen (all 1800)
Troyes v Saint-Etienne (1300), Angers v Lyon (1500), Nice v Marseille (1900)