With all the headlines about Lionel Messi's first days in France, PSG must avoid getting distracted as their home opener in the Ligue 1 2021-2022 season is looming around. Paris Saint-Germain will face RC Strasbourg on Saturday, August 14, on Matchday 2 of the French league.
Fans will return to the Parc des Princes for the first time and it will be a special day to do so. Marquee signings Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Messi will be presented in front of a 49,000 crowd that will be witnessing PSG's first home match in 2021/22.
Paris will be looking to win the league title again after coming up short last season, when Lille won the trophy against all odds. The visitors have a challenging task ahead, not only because of the hosts' stellar squad, but also given their terrible record at the Parc des Princes.
PSG confirmed lineup
After a sour start to his tenure at PSG, Mauricio Pochettino will have to deliver successful results this season. With the likes of Neymar, Mbappe, and all the big-name arrivals this summer, the board's demands will be higher than ever.
Although the whole soccer world is eager to watch Messi in action for Paris, it seems unlikely he plays on Saturday. He has just returned from holidays after a month of rest following the 2021 Copa America, and might need more days to be ready. Still, it's no secret that Messi never wants to miss a game, so we shouldn't rule out watching him on the bench.
Marquinhos, Neymar, Leandro Paredes, and Angel Di María have also had a longer break after playing in the Copa America final, so the PSG lineup will be similar to the one that defeated Troyes 2-1 last Saturday:
Keylor Navas; Achraf Hakimi, Thilo Kehrer, Presnel Kimpembe, Abdou Diallo; Dina Ebimbe, Ander Herrera; Georginio Wijnaldum, Julian Draxler; Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé.
RC Strasbourg confirmed starting XI
RC Strasbourg couldn't get off to a winning debut, losing 0-2 at home to Angers. While they need to start picking up points soon, the upcoming match seems to be as hard as it gets for them.
Following a 15th-place finish last season (only two points clear of the relegation play-off), Julien Stephan took the helm. But he has a tough job upfront. RC Strasbourg has never beaten PSG in 30 Ligue 1 games at Parc des Princes - the worst record in the league.
Given the opponents' strength, they can't expect much from this game other than returning home with a reasonable scoreline. In 2020/21, Paris beat them 4-0 and 4-1. Veteran striker Kevin Gameiro will start this time, so this is what their lineup will look like: Matz Sels; Karol Fila, Alexander Djiku, Ibrahima Sissoko, Lucas Perrin, Dimitri Lienard; Jean-Edus Aholou, Sanjin Prcic, Jeanricner Bellegarde; Ludovic Ajorque and Kevin Gameiro.