- Language Tips
Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder, David Beckham, sprints during a training session on Wednesday. Lionel Bonaventure / Agence France-Presse
All thoughts may be on next week's Champions League quarterfinal tie with Barcelona, but Paris Saint-Germain must first negotiate a potentially tricky Ligue 1 encounter with Montpellier on Friday.
The Ligue 1 leader faces the Catalans at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday in the first leg of a tie that has generated huge excitement in the French capital, and its meeting with the reigning champion has been brought forward to aid its European preparations.
Midfielder Clement Chantome admits that focusing on domestic obligations has not been easy with so much attention on the club's first Champions League quarterfinal in 18 years.
"Everyone is talking about it," said Chantome.
"Even us players have never received so many calls asking us for tickets. You get the impression that, outside the club, people are forgetting about the league.
"I won't lie, we are all thinking about it. But the most important thing is Montpellier."
The quick turnaround after the international break poses a problem for coach Carlo Ancelotti, with several members of his squad having been in action with their countries on Tuesday.
The Italian is likely to rest some of his star names, including Ezequiel Lavezzi, who was only expected back at the club on Thursday after Argentina's World Cup qualifier in Bolivia.
However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was allowed to miss Sweden's friendly in Slovakia on Tuesday, and he could therefore start against Montpellier before also featuring against Barcelona after having a suspension for that game rescinded.
In addition, midfielders Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta are fit again after injuries.
PSG's league form immediately before the international break was far from perfect, with eight points dropped from its past five games, but it still comes into this weekend five points clear of Lyon at the top.
"We are in a good position, with a five-point lead and quite a favorable goal difference," said the 25-year-old Chantome.
"If we don't make any mistakes, we should win the title."
Montpellier will not retain the title it won in such dramatic circumstances last season, but it remains in with an outside chance of qualifying for Europe.
Rene Girard's side is just three points adrift of the top five, and can take confidence from its performance against PSG back in November, when the teams drew 1-1 at the Stade de la Mosson.
Nevertheless, veteran defender Vitorino Hilton dismissed suggestions PSG will have its eye off the ball this weekend.
"There is no good time to play such a team," he said.
"The players who play against us might not start in the Champions League but they will undoubtedly want to show that they are worthy of a place in the team.
"If we get a good result in Paris we can still dream of qualifying for Europe," he said.
Elsewhere, second-placed Lyon will be looking to snap out of its sluggish recent form when it hosts struggling Sochaux on Sunday, while Marseille, in third, travels along the south coast to face Nice.
OM's recent form has also been disappointing, and Nice will move above it in the table with a win at the Stade du Ray.
(China Daily 03/29/2013 page22)