Laurent Blanc was tasked with improving on a double-winning 2013-14 season, but Paris Saint-Germain dealt with the challenge perfectly to clinch an unprecedented major domestic treble this time around.
PSG stuttered in the first half of the season as the likes of Marseille and Lyon provided a sustained threat in the Ligue 1 title race.
But the Parisians lost just two league matches in 2015 and PSG defended the title by winning their last nine matches.
History was made as the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France trophies sandwiched league glory, but an old foe in Barcelona ensured success in the UEFA Champions League remained out of reach.
Here we take a look at the key moments of PSG’s campaign.
PSG’s reputation for big-spending ultimately saw them fall foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, but that did not stop them forking out a reported £40million to bring centre-back David Luiz to the Parc des Princes from Chelsea.
Serge Aurier also arrived on loan from Toulouse, while Alex and Jeremy Menez swapped Paris for Milan.
The newly assembled squad were 2-0 victors over Guingamp in the season-starting Trophee des Champions – the first of four trophies for the campaign.
Early-season draw specialists
PSG made a sloppy start to their title defence as a 1-1 draw against Monaco on October 5 represented their sixth draw in the opening nine league games and left them trailing early pacesetters Marseille by seven points.
“Marseille deserve to be on top,” Blanc said after the game. “It’s a scenario that unfortunately keeps repeating itself and I hope this was the last time.”
Finding the winning feeling
Blanc did not have to wait long to rediscover the joy of victory, though, as PSG embarked on a nine-match winning run in all competitions – starting with a 3-1 win at Lens and culminating in a 1-0 victory over Nice.
The improvement did not go unnoticed by Blanc, who commented: “A month ago this would have maybe been 0-0, but if we keep a clean sheet we only need a goal.”
Champions League group-stage success leads to Luiz’s Chelsea reunion
PSG qualified for the Champions League knockout stages for the third season running after comfortably finishing second behind Barcelona in Group F.
There was plenty of intrigue in the last-16 draw as PSG were paired with Chelsea for the second straight season, which set up Luiz for a return to Stamford Bridge.
The Brazilian jokingly referenced opening his PSG account with an own goal in the 2013-14 quarter-finals.
“Last year I scored my first goal for PSG in this game, but of course I want to do my best for the team, for the club,” he said.
Stamford Bridge triumph marred by Zlatan’s ban
Having seen Thibaut Courtois produce a masterclass in the 1-1 first-leg draw in Paris, PSG travelled to London needing a result.
Their chances were hindered when star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was shown a straight red card by referee Bjorn Kuipers for a sliding challenge on Oscar, with the Swede later commenting: “It felt like I had a lot of babies around me,” in response to the reaction of the Chelsea players.
But PSG fought valiantly, Luiz marking a triumphant return when he forced extra-time by cancelling out Gary Cahill’s opener.
Captain Thiago Silva then clinched the away-goals win when he scored a second equaliser in the 114th minute after Eden Hazard’s penalty looked likely to win it for Chelsea.
Major trophy haul begins, but Barca end European dream
A 4-0 battering of Bastia in the Coupe de la Ligue final started PSG’s treble success on April 11, with Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani scoring twice.
But four days later, PSG faced Barcelona in the Champions League last eight for the second time in three seasons. Devoid of the suspended Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti, and injured duo Luiz and Thiago Motta, PSG were well beaten 3-1 in the first leg in Paris.
There would be no great escape act at Camp Nou a week later, as a Neymar double secured Barca a 5-1 aggregate victory.
After that game Blanc quickly turned his sights to more domestic success: “This defeat will do us harm, but there are still two [more] competitions to win, the championship and Coupe de France.”
Nine from nine brings third straight league title
A 3-2 defeat at Bordeaux on March 15 would later see Ibrahimovic banned for three league matches for a foul-mouthed rant about the performance of referee Lionel Jaffredo.
It did little to derail PSG, though, as that loss proved the catalyst for a flawless end to the campaign in which Blanc’s men defeated all-comers – winning nine games in a row to collect a third consecutive Ligue 1 title by eight points from Lyon.
“We had to wait to the penultimate round of the season to win this title. But it’s just as enjoyable – even more so than last season,” said Blanc – who won his second Ligue 1 medal as head coach – after a 2-1 win at Montpellier confirmed PSG as champions.
History made with Coupe de France victory
No team had ever completed the domestic treble in France, but PSG etched their name into the history books thanks to a 1-0 victory over Auxerre at the Stade de France on May 30.
Cavani proved the hero with a 64th-minute winner and he revelled in the success: “It is historic for the players, the club and the city of Paris. We’ve made progress since last season because we’ve won one extra trophy.
“We’re on the right track. Now all that’s left is for us to win the most prestigious and toughest to win competition: the Champions League.”
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