Paris Saint-Germain will step out onto the Stade de France turf to face Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday, with the first domestic cup trophy of the Qatar Sports Investments era at stake.
The French champions have won the Ligue 1 title as well as the Trophee des Champions since QSI arrived in the French capital back in 2011, but they are yet to snare the Coupe de la Ligue or the Coupe de France.
Traditionally, both sides are major players when it comes to both competitions. However, PSG are the more prolific of the two—despite their comparatively short history—boasting three Coupe de la Ligue and eight Coupe de France triumphs to Lyon’s one and five, respectively.
In fact, Saturday’s final is significant for PSG in that they will become the Coupe de la Ligue’s most decorated side with four titles, if they can beat OL.
Remi Garde got the better of opposite number Laurent Blanc last weekend with a 1-0 Ligue 1 victory at the Stade Gerland, but his chances of pulling off a similar shock have taken a hit with the news that five first-team stars will be missing from his squad at the Stade de France, via OL's official website (in French).
Yoann Gourcuff, Clement Grenier and Gueida Fofana are all ruled out through injury, while last weekend’s match winner, Jordan Ferri, is suspended along with goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre.
PSG’s main concern this weekend will be the absence of star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who hit a spectacular double to book the capital club’s place in the final at the expense of FC Nantes back in February. Otherwise, the Ligue 1 leaders are expected to be at full strength.
Here are some tactical battles that will shape this weekend’s Coupe de la Ligue final.