The first official game of the 2021/22 season between two French teams will take place on Sunday as many as 4,541 kilometres away from Paris, in Tel Aviv, where Lille face Paris Saint-Germain in the Trophee des Champions at 20:00 CEST.
There is a sense of vendetta around this clash as Lille brought an end to PSG‘s Ligue 1 dominance, after the Paris-based club won seven league titles in a row.
“It will not be revenge because Lille deserve all the praise,” PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino said prior the match.
“It is true that we are still disappointed. We do not have good memories. If it is [to become] a rematch, it will be against ourselves. We are PSG and we have to win.”
Pochettino will not have Sergio Ramos, Rafinha Alcantara, Colin Dagba and Juan Bernat at his disposal, all of whom are sidelined through injury, while Kylian Mbappe is not fit to participate either.
Meanwhile, seven internationals – Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marquinhos, Neymar, Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria, Leandro Paredes and Pablo Sarabia – are still on their holidays, so Pochettino is expected to give playing time to academy players such as Arnaud Kalimuendo, Xavi Simons, Dina Ebimbe, El Chadaille Bitshiabu and Edouard Michut.
“We would like to have everyone with us, but we will give our all,” said PSG striker Mauro Icardi.
“We must exact revenge. We are lucky to start with a final and I am only thinking of winning.”
A beheaded Lille
Meanwhile, the Ligue 1 champions have lost key players Mike Maignan and Boubakary Soumare, both of whom departed this summer, while president Gerard Lopez, sporting director Luis Campos and head coach Christophe Galtier have all left the club, with the latter doing so after winning a historic title.
“Winning a trophy is always important,” said new Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec ahead of his first official match in charge.