Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have been in tremendous form during the pre-season, defeating teams such as Fiorentina, Benfica and Manchester United. The French side will be high on confidence when they take on Lille in the Ligue 1 season opener at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Friday.
PSG, who also defeated Lyon in the Trophee des Champions, are top favourites to lift the domestic title after having won the last three editions of the competition.
But PSG are not going to take it easy against Lille, who might be hungry for a good start this season after finishing eighth in the standings table last season. Both teams are eager to start off the Ligue 1 season on a high note.
PSG might not have been too busy in the transfer market, but their two new signings, Benjamin Stambouli and Angel Di Maria, stand out as the duo is poised to strengthen the team.
However, Lille might consider themselves lucky as PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic , who has been impressive this pre-season, will not be playing the first game of the season on Friday. The club confirmed Ibrahimovic's non- availability.
''Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had scans which have revealed a sprain of the internal lateral ligament of his right knee.
''The striker will therefore be absent for Friday's league match at Lille,'' the club said in a statement.
But there is no dearth of good players at PSG, which has the likes of Javier Pastore, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, amongst others.
Lille midfielder Florent Balmont is aware of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's absence, but is also aware of the threat Cavani brings to the table.
''I hope that the Parisians will relax a little this weekend,'' Balmont told Lille's official website. ''Zlatan is absent, but behind there is (Edinson) Cavani and others, so it does not change much."
Lille face a tough task in the form of PSG in their opening encounter, followed by clashes against Monaco and Bordeaux. Hence, their performance in their first few matches could play an important role in determining their position in the rankings table though it might be too early in the season to predict.
''As usual, I am driven by a big motivation. We have a big match against PSG and our early season schedule is complicated because after that are going to Monaco before receiving Bordeaux," said Balmont.
''Here, there has been a lot of change, but it was good preparation.''
Herve Renard, Lille head coach, has been busy in the transfer market so far with a number of players leaving the club and some joining. So Lille fans might not be aware as to what exactly to expect from the new look team.
It is going to be an interesting affair with PSG's settled team against Lille's new look team.
Where to Watch Live
The Ligue 1 opener between PSG and Lille is scheduled for 8:30 pm local time (12am IST, 7:30pm BST, 2:30 pm ET) with live Tv coverage in India on Ten Action.
US Viewers can enjoy the live coverage on beIN Sports USA with live streaming on beIN Sports Connect.
Viewers in the UK can watch the action on BT Europe.
French viewers can watch the game live on Canal+ France.