11 September 2014 14:22
Defender David Luiz could be on the sidelines as defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain make the tricky trip to Rennes on Saturday.
The centre-back, who arrived in a big-money move from Premier League Chelsea in the transfer window, damaged knee cartilage while on international duty for Brazil against Colombia last Friday.
Having missed Brazil’s meeting with Ecuador on Tuesday, he is now a doubt as PSG resume their domestic exertions at the Stade de Route de Lorient.
And, with a UEFA Champions League visit to Dutch champions Ajax coming just four days after PSG’s visit to Brittany, it would be no surprise if coach Laurent Blanc decided to leave David Luiz out of the clash with last season’s Coupe de France runners-up.
Should the Brazilian miss the game it will leave PSG without their first-choice centre-back pairing, with captain and compatriot Thiago Silva still unavailable due to a hamstring injury he suffered in a friendly with Napoli last month.
Their countryman Marquinhos will likely partner Zoumana Camara at the heart of the back four if David Luiz is unable to recover.
On loan Toulouse right-back Serge Aurier can also play in the centre, although he may also be omitted after suffering a head injury in Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Cameroon on Wednesday.
It is perhaps the wrong game for PSG to be making changes in defence considering that Rennes head into the game on the back of a strong start to the campaign and have proved difficult opposition for the capital club in the recent past.
Philippe Montanier’s men have taken seven points from three games since losing their season-opener to Lyon and should approach the contest with confidence having beaten PSG 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in May.
That result ended a 29-match league unbeaten run for PSG that began a week after the Bretons had achieved an identical result in November 2012.
But those victories have been sandwiched by consecutive away wins at Rennes for PSG, who have the substantial bonus of an in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line.
Ibrahimovic comes into the game having netted a hat-trick in their 5-0 win over Saint-Etienne in PSG’s last game and broken Sweden’s all-time goalscoring record during the international break.
One of Ibrahimovic’s international team-mates Ola Toivonen is likely to provide Rennes’ primary goal threat after finding the net three times in the first four games, while pacy forward Paul Georges Ntep also has the ability to cause the depleted PSG defence problems.
Attacking midfielder Christian Bruls is still on the sidelines for Rennes with a foot injury, however, versatile midfielder Benjamin Andre and former PSG defender Sylvain Armand are both fit to play despite picking up knocks in training.