Aiming to celebrate their Ligue 1 title coronation in the right way and end another turbulent campaign with a flourish, Paris Saint-Germain welcome Clermont to the Parc des Princes for Saturday’s finale.
Christophe Galtier’s team wrapped up their 11th top-flight crown in a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg last weekend, while their visitors are certain of a top-half finish in a campaign that has exceeded all expectations.
As was the case 12 months ago, confirmation of PSG’s status as top dogs in France was followed by relatively muted celebrations, as Les Parisiens successfully retained their crown despite failing to assert their dominance on the Stade de la Meinau turf.
Lionel Messi’s opener on the stroke of the hour mark was cancelled out by former Parisiens striker Kevin Gameiro some 20 minutes later, but the capital giants only required a point from their final two fixtures to stave off the challenge of Lens and end the season with a domestic double, having won the Trophee des Champions in Galtier’s inaugural game.
Despite delivering a duo of trophies to the Parc des Princes, Saturday’s affair is widely expected to be Galtier’s last in the Parisiens’ hotseat – despite outlining his intentions to stay put – as another obligatory title triumph papers over the cracks of their continued Champions League curse and ongoing off-field controversies.
Success for PSG on Saturday would take them onto 27 victories and 88 points for the campaign – a higher tally than Mauricio Pochettino achieved in the 2020-21 (82) or 2021-22 (86) seasons – and the champions’ most recent encounter in front of their own fans ended in a 5-0 thrashing of Ajaccio.
However, the Parc des Princes is not the same stronghold it once was for France’s top dogs, who have suffered defeat in three of their last five Ligue 1 home games and have not kept back-to-back clean sheets on their own turf all season long – music to the ears of an over-achieving Clermont.
Whatever Clermont boss Pascal Gastien and his nutritional team have been feeding the Lanciers squad since the start of April has gone down a treat, as this weekend’s visitors to the capital bring the curtain down on the most successful season in their 112-year history.
Making their debut in the top flight last year and staying up by the skin of their teeth in 17th place – a ranking which would have demoted them this time around – Clermont have been one of the most surprising success stories of the current campaign, cementing themselves as a top-half outfit thanks to a magnificent springtime spell.
Since the start of April, Clermont have taken 22 points from 27 on offer with seven wins, one draw and one defeat, with the most recent of those successes coming in a 2-0 home win versus Lorient last weekend courtesy of goals from Saif-Eddine Khaoui and Maximiliano Caufriez.
Sitting pretty in eighth in the table, Les Lanciers cannot drag themselves into the top seven this weekend and may be bumped down to ninth – Nice are only one point adrift of Gastien’s side – but little can dampen the spirits of Clermont, whose tally of 56 points is the highest for a team in their second Ligue 1 campaign for 34 years.
Gastien’s men travel to PSG on the back of a 10-game scoring streak in the top division, but their most recent failures have come in their last two away games – drawing with Auxerre and suffering a 2-1 reverse at Brest – and Clermont have been victims of three humbling losses versus PSG since the start of last season, conceding 15 goals and scoring just once during that unsightly sequence.
Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
Clermont Ligue 1 form:
We say: Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Clermont
While Clermont command plenty of respect from their title-winning hosts, Gastien’s side realistically only have pride to play for, and recent shortcomings on their travels will do them no favours whatsoever.
PSG’s depleted defence is hardly impenetrable on the Parc des Princes turf, but in what will likely be the farewell match of Galtier, Messi and others, the champions should grind out a professional win to give their departing contingent the perfect send-off.