Liga MX returns Friday with the Clausura set to begin with a battle between Puebla and Tigres in the Estadio Cuauhtemoc.
Tigres are the reigning champions after seeing off rival Monterrey in the first-ever Clasico Regio final.
Puebla's biggest concern is relegation. La Franja currently sit third-from-last in the table ahead of May's cutoff.
|Game||Puebla vs Tigres|
|Date||Friday, January 5|
|Time||8:00 p.m. ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
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SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Guzman, Fernandez, Ortega|
|Defenders||Kolodziejczak, Ayala, Juninho, Meza, Torres Nilo, Acosta, Jimenez, Estrada, Rodriguez|
|Midfielders||Carioca, Duenas, J. Torres, Vasquez, R. Torres, Zelarayan, Aquino, Alvarez, Sosa, Damm|
|Forwards||Valencia, Gignac, Vargas|
Tigres have few changes to their title-winning squad with Damian Alvarez's retirement the biggest offseason story for the club.
Jurgen Damm suffered burns on the right side of his face from New Year's fireworks and will miss Friday's contest.
Potential starting XI: Guzman; Torres Nilo, Ayala, Meza, Rodriguez; Duenas, Carioca; Aquino, Vargas, Valencia; Gignac.
|Goalkeepers||Munoz, Villasenor, Rodriguez|
|Defenders||Angulo, Gutierrez, Venegas, Rojas, Pimentel, Zamora, Rodriguez, Mondragon, Santamaria|
|Midfielders||Araujo, Escoboza, Acuna, Micolta, Marrugo, Guerrero, Torres, Enriquez, Tabo, Chumacero|
|Forwards||Cavallini, Fernandez, Carreno|
Puebla will need attacking help with forward Lucas Cavallini and midfielder Francisco Torres both suspended from Friday's match.
Torres was sent off in Puebla's final match of the 2017 season while Cavallini was booked and has reached the yellow-card accumulation limit.
Potential starting XI: Munoz; Angulo, Venegas, Rodriguez, Zamora; Guerrero; Enriquez, Marrugo, Escoboza, Acuna; Tabo.
Two teams coming off very different seasons meet to kick off the 2018 Liga MX Clausura.
Tigres are the champions after topping Monterrey in the final, while Puebla finished 15th, winning just three times in the Apertura.
Puebla, Friday's host, did show improvement after veteran manager Enrique "Ojitos" Meza arrived to take over the team midway through the tournament, with the 69-year-old overseeing an upset of Monterrey.
With suspensions to captain Francisco Torres because of a red card and forward Lucas Cavallini because of yellow-card accumulation, Meza will need someone to step up to provide a threat against Tigres' staunch defense.
He may need to turn to new addition Christian Tabo, who joined from Atlas, while Bolivian midfielder Alejandro Chumacero will look for his first start wearing La Franja.
Tigres have had little rest since winning the title the second weekend of December.
The club was back in training during the holidays and suffered through below-freezing temperatures to practice this week.
While Jurgen Damm will miss Friday's match because of a mishap with fireworks while celebrating New Year's, the club has the depth to overcome an absence.
The attacking group of Enner Valencia, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Eduardo Vargas and Javier Aquino will be eager to start 2018 where they left off in 2017.
Despite playing on the road - often a difficult proposition in Liga MX - manager Tuca Ferretti will expect his team to come out of the season opener with all three points before they head home to take on Santos Laguna in week two.