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Ligue 1

  • April 5, 2014
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • Parc des Princes, Paris
  • Referee: L. Duhamel
  • • Attendance: 46440

Ligue 1 Preview: Paris Saint-Germain - Reims

Ligue 1 Preview: Paris Saint-Germain - Reims

Javier Pastore PSG Champions League

The capital club will be on a high following victory over Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday and will be hoping to strengthen its grip on the Ligue 1 crown.

Odair Fortes says Reims will not visit the Parc des Princes as "tourists" when the club travels to Ligue 1 champion-elect Paris Saint-Germain.

Hubert Fournier's men head to the capital on Saturday on the back of a strong season that could yet see the club finish in the top six, although hopes of European qualification now appear slim.

However, Reims faces undoubtedly its stiffest test of the campaign against a PSG side that is all-but assured of a second straight French crown following a remarkable season in which the club has lost just one league game.

Despite that record, Laurent Blanc's men have been unconvincing in recent 1-0 wins at Lorient and Nice, but the team still holds a 13-point lead at the summit over second-placed Monaco.

Last year's Ligue 1 winner should head into this game with plenty of confidence after defeating Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

PSG, which is set to be without influential striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, hammered Reims 3-0 in the reverse fixture in November and will be expected to complete a league double over the six-time French champion.

But Fortes insists that Fournier's men are determined to spring a surprise in a game that he believes represents the equivalent of a Champions League clash for Reims.

"We will play in our Champions League," Fortes told L'Union L'Ardennais. "It will be difficult, we do not hide from that. This game is eagerly awaited. We go to the Parc to get a result. Win or draw.

"PSG has dominated Ligue 1. This is an impressive team in all areas. Ibrahimovic is often mentioned, but we forget the others, all as strong as each other. But we're not going there as tourists."

Seventh-placed Reims has claimed some impressive victories on the road this season, with three of the five away wins coming against Lille, Marseille and Lyon.

In PSG, though, the team will face a side that has turned the Parc des Princes into fortress over the last year, having not lost a league game at home since November 2012.

The home side will be without the suspended Marco Verratti and the injured Gregory van der Wiel, who has a knee problem, while Ibrahimovic will not feature after pulling up with a muscle strain against Chelsea.

With the second leg against the Blues at Stamford Bridge taking place just three days later, Blanc will likely shuffle his pack as PSG aim to edge closer to a fourth French title.

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