Paris Saint-Germain v St Etienne: Preview
Paris St Germain boss Laurent Blanc has confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to feature against high-flying St Etienne at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
The Sweden international, who scored an astonishing 41 goals in all competitions last year, limped out of PSG's 2-0 win over Bastia with a back injury a fortnight ago but is now fit and raring to go.
Ibrahimovic's return is timely for Blanc, whose side struggled to a goalless draw at Evian in his absence, as Les Verts arrive in the capital flying high in Ligue 1 after picking up seven points from their opening three games.
``He's fine (Ibrahimovic). He resumed collective training Tuesday morning. There was no discomfort. No pain,'' Blanc told L'Equipe, www.lequipe.fr. ``He worked normally Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and he will do it again this Saturday. He will be in the group normally.''
Having already underlined his importance to Les Parisiens this season with a brace in their opening-day 2-2 draw at Reims, PSG fans will now hope the 32-year-old's return can help the title holders kick on and rediscover their best form.
It is not all good news for PSG though, with captain Thiago Silva expected to be kept out with an ongoing hamstring problem, Yohan Cabaye suspended and full-back Gregory van der Wiel a doubt with a back injury.
Another player who definitely will not take part is Adrien Rabiot as he inches closer to a move to Serie A outfit Roma.
Blanc revealed that a deal is yet to be finalised, but added that PSG, who found out on Thursday they will face Barcelona, Ajax and Apoel Nicosia in Group F of this year's Champions League, will not be making any new additions whatever happens.
``There will not be another arrival. Adrien Rabiot, I do not think will be replaced,'' he added. ``His departure is not yet officially recorded. He is still a PSG player.''
Meanwhile, Christophe Galtier's St Etienne side arrive in the capital aiming to maintain the feel-good factor that has seen them book a place in the Europa League group stage and remain unbeaten after three domestic games.
Their midweek penalty shoot-out triumph over Turkish side Karabukspor secured a tasty-looking match-up with Inter Milan in Group F of Europe's second-tier competition, along with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Qarabag.
In Ligue 1 Les Verts drew 0-0 with Rennes last week, after notching back-to-back wins over Guingamp and Reims, and Galtier is relishing the chance to upset PSG.
``PSG will have important absentees but you should not believe that they are weakened given the quality they have in their squad,'' he told the club's website, www.asse.fr.
``We approach this match with no pressure but with a real motivation. We must believe in our chances to annoy. We should not be shy.''