Wed, Nov 27, 2013 - Page 19 News List

PSG look to extend unbeaten run

Reuters, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain’s Jeremy Menez, right, vies for the ball with Lorient’s Kevin Monnet-Paquet in their Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Nov. 1.

Photo: Reuters

Like all good things, Paris Saint-Germain’s long unbeaten streak will eventually come to an end, but the French champions do not expect that to happen when Olympiakos visit in today’s UEFA Champions League match.

PSG top Group C on 10 points from four games, three ahead of their Greek opponents who they beat 4-1 in the opening game, and they need just a draw to reach the round-of-16.

A victory would secure top spot for PSG, who extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 34 games with their 3-0 win at Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 at the weekend.

“It was the best possible way to prepare our Champions League match,” coach Laurent Blanc told reporters after his side’s latest demonstration of their collective force. “Yes, some day PSG will be beaten. The later the better. We can’t say that nothing will happen to us, but our players are at their best, both individually and collectively. This team has shown its strength.”

Forward Jeremy Menez, who scored the second goal at Reims, said PSG are strong enough to control the outcome of their games.

“Are we beatable? If we loosen our grip, maybe, but if we keep putting in all the ingredients, we’re really tough to play against,” Menez said.

At Reims, the last team in Europe to have beaten PSG in March, former France coach Blanc rested some of the players coming back from international duty.

Defender Maxwell, midfielder Blaise Matuidi, and forwards Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani were all benched, while fullback Gregory van der Wiel sat in the stands.

They are all expected to start today in a full-strength PSG team that will count on leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The in-form Swede, who has netted seven times in four Champions League games, set up the opener and closed the scoring on Saturday, proving he had moved forward after failing to help his country qualify for the World Cup.

However, Olympiakos are not expected to be easy prey as Michel’s team bubble with confidence after their superb run of recent form.

Since losing to PSG, the Reds have been unbeaten in Group C and took a firm grip on second place with a 1-0 win over SL Benfica last time out.

In the Greek Super League they have been virtually unstoppable, winning 11 out of 12 matches, while recording one draw.

A 4-1 away win over Panthrakikos on Saturday has added to the confidence of the Piraeus club and leftback Jose Holebas insisted beating PSG was not impossible.

“In the Champions League you have to respect all the teams, as anything can happen, as has been proven time and again,” the Greece defender said. “If we go out and play with our heart and stay focused, although it’s a tough match, we can get a good result. Of course, in Paris they have many great players who can cook even just with water as their only ingredient. Let’s see what we can do, I believe we can even beat them.”

Holebas singled out in-form teammate Kostas Mitroglou for praise, as the 25-year-old striker continues to find the net for club and country.

“With Mitroglou up front I think we can score in Paris,” Holebas said. “He can’t stop scoring at the moment, but he also keeps the ball well, and this allows us to push other players forward and create chances.”

Mitroglou, Giannis Maniatis and Holebas were rested at the weekend in preparation for today’s match.

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