Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in training with PSG
PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic has resumed light training, and Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc will be hoping that is enough to spark a lackluster attack.
PSG will play Sunday against second-place Saint-Etienne, a team that has caused the defending French champions problems over the past two seasons.
Ibrahimovic’s return should take the pressure off Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani, who is still struggling to find his best form since joining PSG last season.
Bordeaux will be looking for a fourth straight win when it hosts Bastia on Sunday.
Here are some things to know about this weekend’s games.
Three straight wins, entertaining football, and a lot of goals.
That is exactly what observers expected from big-spending Paris Saint-Germain this season, but it is Bordeaux that is producing some eye-catching performances.
Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol, who left his coaching job with France’s under-21 side to join Bordeaux in the offseason, has taken to top-flight coaching with remarkable ease.
After starting the campaign with a 1-0 win at Montpellier, Bordeaux followed with a 4-1 rout of Monaco — the French league’s other big spender. The team then beat Nice 3-1 last weekend.
Sagnol, who played 58 times for France as an attack-minded right back, has shown faith in 21-year-old Uruguayan forward Diego Rolan, who struggled to break into the team over the past two seasons.
Rolan scored two goals and had an assist in three games, while strike partner Cheick Dibate has also scored twice.
Now back to training, Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is hoping to play in Sunday’s home match against Saint-Etienne.
The Sweden forward tore an abdominal muscle two weeks ago playing against Bastia and missed the 0-0 draw against Evian last weekend, where PSG looked weak in attack without him.
Following his injury, the 32-year-old Ibrahimovic took a break back in Sweden, where he worked on his fitness with his national team’s medical staff in a bid to speed up his comeback.
Ibrahimovic, the top scorer in the French league for the past two seasons, took part in ball drills during PSG’s training session on Wednesday.
BRANDAO TRAINS ... ALONE
Brazilian forward Brandao is training alone as he awaits his fate after headbutting Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta.
Brandao, who has been temporarily suspended by the French league, faces a lengthy ban when the LFP’s disciplinary council pronounces its verdict on Sept. 18.
After Bastia’s 2-0 loss to PSG on Aug. 16, he waited for Motta in the tunnel and headbutted the Italy international, leaving him with a broken nose. PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi called for Brandao to be banned for life.
The 34-year-old Brandao, who joined Bastia this season after spells with Marseille and Saint-Etienne, resumed training with a physical instructor on Tuesday.
Modibo Maiga is set to make his Metz debut at home against Lyon on Sunday after joining the newly-promoted club from West Ham on a season-long loan.
The Mali forward struggled to make an impact in the English Premier League over the past two seasons, and spent the second part of last season on loan at second-tier club Queens Park Rangers.
Metz needs a boost in attack, having scored only one goal in three matches so far.
The team recently sold striker Diafra Sakho, last season’s Player of the Year in the second division, to West Ham.
France coach Didier Deschamps is worried that the French league’s image will worsen unless clubs fare better in European competition.
Lille lost to FC Porto 3-0 on aggregate on Tuesday in the Champions League playoffs, a year after Lyon was thrashed 4-0 over two legs by Real Sociedad at the same stage.
Aside from Paris Saint-Germain, which reached the Champions League quarterfinals last season, French clubs have fared poorly in the past two seasons, with Marseille losing all six of its group games in the last campaign.
“I want them to play as well as possible, especially in the Champions League,” Deschamps said. “It’s important for the image of French football, and for the national team, that the clubs do well on the European scene. It helps players improve more quickly.”
Deschamps guided unheralded Moncao to the Champions League final 10 years ago, knocking out Real Madrid and Chelsea along the way.