On Sunday, Lionel Messi will make his Paris Saint-Germain debut against Reims at Stade Auguste-Delaune.

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United this week has shocked the footballing world, but it is not the first time this summer. And, on Sunday, his major rival, Lionel Messi, is likely to make headlines once more when he makes his debut for Paris Saint-Germain against Reims at Stade Auguste-Delaune.

Since sealing his move to PSG earlier this month, the Argentine football legend has failed to make the roster for either of the two matches. However, after a few weeks of training with the club, he is finally ready to make his debut as PSG strives for their fourth consecutive Ligue 1 victory this weekend.

The French champions have won their first three games in a row, defeating Troyes, RC Strasbourg, and Brest. They are anticipating a more difficult challenge against Reims, who have gone undefeated in their opening three games.

Despite the fact that they are yet to win a game, the hosts have kept OGC Nice and last season's surprise gift, Metz, from claiming all three points away from home. Les Rouges et Blancs had lost both of their matches against PSG last season, but there is reason to be optimistic as new coach Oscar Garcia aims to make an early statement by pulling off the first major upset of the season.

We'll take a deeper look at these two teams here at The Hard Tackle before this weekend's Ligue 1 match in Reims.


Tactics & News from the Team


Reims head coach Garcia is without a few key players due to injuries, including Fraser Hornby, Moussa Doumbia, Anastasios Donis, and, most recently, Arber Zeneli, who had an ACL injury early in the season and could miss the entire 2021/22 season.

Since his arrival at Reims, Garcia has favored a wing-back system. He is unlikely to make any alterations to that lineup, though Thomas Foket and Ghislain Konan, the wing-backs, may be instructed to play more defensively.

Indeed, with Reims expected to defend in numbers, frustrating the opposition with their deep line of defense, they could be crucial in assisting the three center-backs Andrew Gravillon, Yunis Abdelhamid, and Wout Faes. Nonetheless, Predrag Rajkovic must remain cautious in goal, knowing that he may be in for a long night dealing with PSG's formidable attack.

The same can be said about Moreto Cassama and Marshall Munetsi in midfield, with the latter expected to play a key part in screening the backline. During offensive or build-up phases, he might fill in as an auxiliary center-back while the two wingbacks press forward.

In terms of the offense, El Bilal Toure should lead the line as usual, with Ilan Kebbal and Mathieu Cafaro providing support. Garcia, on the other hand, has the option of using Nathanael Mbuku, a younger replacement for Kebbell.

Rajkovic; Foket, Gravillon, Faes, Abdelhamid, Konan; Cassama, Munetsi; Cafaro, Kebbal; Toure; -Probable Lineup (5-2-3):

Paris Saint-Germain 

For this encounter in Reims, Paris Saint-Germain will be helped by the return of a number of crucial players. While the focus is on new signing Lionel Messi, Neymar, along with Leandro Paredes, is again in contention to start.

Mauricio Pochettino, the club's head coach, has also confirmed Kylian Mbappe's availability, despite reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid. Pochettino added that “he is doing well and is prepared for tomorrow's game,” so we can anticipate the Frenchman to lead the PSG attack, with Messi and Neymar providing support out wide.

After the arrival of Messi, it's the dream trifecta that many had hoped for. However, with Mbappe's future in doubt, it may not last long, and this could be the first and last time we see these three superstars on the pitch together.

Idrissa Gueye could start ahead of Danilo in midfield, while new acquisition Georginio Wijnaldum will partner Marco Verratti, completing PSG's three-man midfield lineup that boasts a great blend of power, trickery, and technical skill.

Their work rate and influence in the middle of the park will be crucial in helping the visitors dominate this game, though Reims will not make it easy for them. They may even use a low defensive block to force them to create something instead of spraying long passes in behind the backline for Mbappe or Neymar to chase.

PSG is still missing Sergio Ramos on defense, and another new acquisition, Gianluigi Donnarumma, may have to settle for a bench spot once more, as Keylor Navas continues to start in goal for Les Parisiens.

Marquinhos, on the other hand, is a strong candidate to return to the starting lineup, possibly replacing Thilo Kehrer at center-back. He might thus re-establish his central defensive partnership with Presnel Kimpembe, though they will have their job cut out for them against a nimble Reims side capable of scoring one or two goals on the break.

In other areas, Achraf Hakimi is a lock to start at right-back. His attacking abilities should allow him to make marauding runs forward, whereas left-back Abdou Diallo should play a more conservative role, assisting the center-backs as needed.

Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Verratti, Gueye, Wijnaldum; Messi, Mbappe, Neymar;-Probable Lineup (4-3-3) 


Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Stade Reims

Paris Saint-Germain has been in terrific form so far this season, and things will only get better with the return of the majority of their big players this weekend. In many ways, Reims could be a victim of their opponents' undeniable quality, hence we predict the visitors to win 3-0 this weekend.