PSG set to face old foes Marseille early in French season

Paris (AFP) –


Champions Paris Saint-Germain will play host to fierce rivals Marseille in their third game of the new Ligue 1 season in mid-September as the French fixture calendar was unveiled on Thursday.

The match at the Parc des Princes is due to be played on the weekend of September 13, but the 2020-21 campaign is set to begin on the weekend of August 22 and 23.

That is two weeks later than had initially been planned before the coronavirus pandemic forced French football authorities into a rethink, despite the controversial decision to end the last season early in late April with 10 rounds of matches unplayed.

PSG were declared champions for the third year running having been 12 points clear of Marseille at the top, with a game in hand, when the season was suspended in mid-March.

Thomas Tuchel's team are due to kick off their defence of the title with a home game against Metz before visiting newly-promoted Lens on the weekend of August 29 and 30.

However, the Metz match will have to be rearranged if Paris make it to the final of the Champions League, which is scheduked to go ahead in Lisbon on August 23.

PSG have qualified for the final eight of the competition to be staged in the Portuguese capital and will find out on Friday who their opponents will be in the quarter-finals between August 12 and 15.

Lyon are also still alive in the Champions League, although they must still play the second leg of their last-16 tie against Juventus having won 1-0 at home in the first leg in February.

The seven-time champions, who were a disappointing seventh when last season was suspended, are due to begin their season at Montpellier. Lyon will visit PSG in mid-December and will host the capital side in late March.

Back in the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2013, Andre Villas-Boas's Marseille will begin their season at home to Saint-Etienne.

Rennes, whose third-place finish was their best ever, will go to Lille on the opening weekend.

The Brittany side are due to go into the Champions League third qualifying round in mid-September, although they could still be parachuted into the group stage of Europe's elite club competition depending on who wins the Europa League in August.

Despite the early end to the last league season in France, the two domestic cup finals, postponed in April, will still go ahead.

PSG will face Saint-Etienne in the French Cup final on July 24, and the capital club will then take on Lyon in what will be the last ever French League Cup final on July 31.