Nice vs. PSG kick start their Ligue 1 year with a trip to RC Lens on Thursday night (8:00pm kick-off).
The Parisians will probably be seeking to place their Champions League final defeat behind them when Thomas Tuchel’s side travel to the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
The Ligue 1 campaign got underway last month but PSG were handed an extended break to recover from their Lisbon showdown with Bayern Munich.
Newly-promoted Lens started their new season at the worst possible fashion, losing 2-1 to Nice on the opening weekend, but the’Blood and Gold’ will be trusting PSG are yet to refocus after the disappointment in Portugal and are still suffering a slight hangover from that defeat.
PSG will be eyeing up a fourth successive Ligue 1 title this season, but can Lens conjure an early mad and offer some excitement in these opening phases?
Where to watch Lens vs PSG on TV:
UK: BT Sport 1
US: beIN SPORTS
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Lens & PSG’s previous line-ups:
Lens (vs Nice): Leca; Gradit, Bade, Medina; Michelin, Cahuzac, Doucoure, Boura; Kakuta, Sotoca, Ganago.
Tuchel will be without centre-back Thiago Silva, who recently finished a move to Chelsea, so former Borussia Dortmund defender Abdou Diallo is anticipated to associate Presnel Kimpembe in the trunk. The German trainer will also be hopeful Marco Verratti has fully overcome a calf issue and can make the starting XI.
Lens: Being a newly promoted club, Franck Haise will probably be under no illusions about the scale of the job at hand. His side put in a valiant performance against Nice last time out, but he is going to be desperate to avoid a second successive defeat, meaning his players must be switched on at the ends of the pitch. When Lens get chances, they will need to take themand one participant who could demonstrate the difference-maker within this tie is former Chelsea winger Gael Kakuta. The 29-year-old suffered relegation using Amiens last season and will not want to experience a repeat of that. Having opened his accounts against Nice, Kakuta will have his eyes put on adding to his tally.
PSG: The Parc des Princes may be awash with world -lass assaulting gift, but Tuchel also has quite a few excellent workers in his aspect, players that aren’t scared to receive their shorts helpless and place in the hard yards. Marquinhos typifies this strategy. The versatile Brazilian has been reinvented as a defensive midfielder and offers his side the requisite protection required just in front of the backline for his attack-minded teammates to operate with greater freedom farther up the pitch. Without Marquinhos anchoring the midfield, PSG lose balance and a safety net in the middle of the pitch, and he will be key to keeping players like Kakuta silent later this week.