Peerless PSG closes in on French Cup title

The injury-plagued side will look to finish their French Cup campaign successfully as the take on League Cup champion Strasbourg next week.

Paris Saint-Germain

Dominant PSG will look to clinch the French Cup for the eight time as they take on League Cup champions Strasbourg next week.   -  AP

Paris Saint-Germain looks all set to clinch a sixth Ligue 1 title in seven seasons this weekend and complete the first part of a domestic double after booking its place in the final of the French Cup.

Thomas Tuchel's team will know ahead of kick-off whether it can round off its title procession with a victory at home to League Cup champion Strasbourg.

PSG would claim the championship for the eighth time — and draw to within two of the record held by Saint-Etienne — with a win at the Parc des Princes if Lille slips up away to Reims.

Yet Tuchel, whose side is on track to shatter its 96-point return from the 2015-16 campaign, denied recent reports he has signed an extension with PSG until 2021.

“I can't confirm, we should wait a bit,” said the German, who saw his team agonisingly knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Manchester United last month.

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Marquinhos became the latest high-profile PSG injury casualty during Wednesday's 3-0 semifinal defeat of Nantes, joining Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria on the sidelines.

“At Toulouse, we were 14 players, we were missing two on the bench,” Tuchel bemoaned, having travelled with a reduced 16-man squad for last week's 1-0 win.

“It's not possible to manage the players. Some guys we use too much. It's horrible because we're missing a lot of key players... but the team continues to win every three days. It shows our hunger to win, which for me is exceptional,” he added.

After flirting with relegation last season, Lille is looking to cement its Champions League return by holding off Lyon in the fight for second place.

Lyon is third, four points back with eight games left, but the focus this week has centred on the future of manager Bruno Genesio, who is out of contract in June.

No Mourinho at Lyon

Tuesday's 3-2 loss at home to Rennes in the French Cup prompted club president Jean-Michel Aulas to shelve a two-year extension for Genesio, whose side hosts bottom side Dijon on Saturday.

While Genesio faces a fight to save his job, Aulas ruled out the possibility of Jose Mourinho pitching up in Lyon next season.

“I saw Mourinho in Moscow last summer and we spoke a bit, but not to talk about coming to Lyon, we spoke about recruitment,” Aulas told L'Equipe. “The special one is not compatible with the club's economy.”

Marseille's push for Champions League football appears doomed after it tossed away a two-goal lead in its 2-2 draw against Angers to fall eight points adrift of Lyon.

“The goal was to do better than last season. It would be a failure” to miss out on the top three, said 19-year-old defender Boubacar Kamara. “But we have to finish the season well. In terms of points anything can still happen.”

Mario Balotelli scored twice against Angers to take his goals tally to seven in nine games for Marseille, but the Italian is a doubt for Friday's trip to Bordeaux due to a muscle strain.

Meanwhile, Nice sporting director Gilles Grimandi has insisted Patrick Vieira is going nowhere as the ex-France and Arsenal star approaches the end of his debut season on the Cote d'Azur.

“Vieira will be by our side next season. At Arsenal he was courted by quite a lot of people. As a coach he will be on shortlists and in demand by big clubs,” said Grimandi, who assumed his new role last month.

 

Fixtures (all times 1800 GMT unless stated)

Friday: Bordeaux vs Marseille (1845)

Saturday: Lyon vs Dijon (1500), Amiens vs Saint-Etienne, Angers vs Rennes, Guingamp vs Monaco, Nimes vs Caen

Sunday: Reims vs Lille, Toulouse vs Nantes (both 1300), Nice vs Montpellier (1500), Paris Saint-Germain vs Strasbourg