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Reims v Paris Saint-Germain: Weber confident of springing surprise against champions

Reims have no fear ahead of their Ligue 1 clash with champions Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday after making a promising start to the season, according to defender Anthony Weber.

PSG opened their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win against Malmo on Tuesday, but dropped their first points of the season in a 2-2 draw against Bordeaux prior to that European outing.

The capital club are still unbeaten, though, and the wealth of attacking talent at their disposal means it would take a brave man to bet against them returning to Paris with all three points.

However, Reims, who finished 15th last term, are no pushovers, as highlighted by a 2-2 draw in last season’s corresponding fixture – a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace saving a point for PSG on that occasion.

Olivier Guegan, who took over as head coach last April, has overseen a strong start to the domestic season, with their only defeat from five matches coming away at Nantes.

Victories over Bordeaux, Marseille and Lorient and a 2-2 draw at Toulouse last weekend has left them third in the table, three points adrift of leaders PSG.

Few expect Reims to be among the title contenders come the end of the season, but a fine start has lifted spirits in the squad and left Weber in a confident mood ahead of the match at the Stade Auguste Delaune II.

“Hosting PSG is always a great event for us here in Reims,” he said at a news conference on Thursday. “It is synonymous with a full stadium so, inevitably, there is always excitement of playing against one of the best European teams.

“It’s also a way for us to gauge our progress in Ligue 1. With our good start, we have the heart to compete with PSG.

“We know absolutely everything about them. We know exactly how they play.”

PSG have plenty of cause for optimism themselves, though.

Angel di Maria broke his PSG duck against Malmo and drew plaudits for an impressive performance as he continues to show signs of getting back to his best after a disappointing one-season spell at Manchester United.

Edinson Cavani, meanwhile, is looking to continue his prolific start to the season. The Uruguay striker was also on target against Malmo and has four to his name in five Ligue 1 games, including a brace in the Bordeaux fixture.

Moreover, he scored twice against Reims in a 3-2 victory the last time the sides met at the Parc des Princes in May.

PSG have no new reported injuries, while the likes of David N’Gog, Diego, Mohamed Fofana and Odair Fortes remain sidelined for Reims.

Kevin Trapp kept his place in the PSG goal for the midweek clash against Malmo, but it remains to be seen how long Laurent Blanc will keep the faith following his unconvincing display against Bordeaux.

Thu 17 Sep, 2015
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