Every league has its rivalry and it does not come any bigger than Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain in Division 1 Féminine. On Saturday afternoon, the two teams will meet for the first time this season, looking to draw first blood in the annual battle for title in France. Both teams come into this weekend’s match with a record of 7-1 and know that a win will put some genuine daylight between two evenly matched teams.
Hegerberg vs Katoto
There are going to be important battles all over the pitch during this match but what could determine the outcome of the game is who between Ada Hegerberg and Marie-Antoinette Katoto will take their chances. Hegerberg is on a roll once again this year, having scored 10 goals in eight matches while Katoto is just behind the current top goalscorer with eight goals.
Hegerberg needs no introduction. The Norwegian has been a standout player on the world stage for Olympique Lyonnais since she joined the club in 2014. Katoto has been just as impressive after rising through the ranks to the first time for PSG. After a stellar 2017/2018 season, Katoto has grown as a player each season and her start to this season is a big reason why PSG are neck-and-neck with OL at the top of the table.
Both strikers are clinical and also great with their link up play. They won’t need many chances to make an impact on this game and it will probably come down to which of the two will make the most of what will probably be limited space and time in the penalty area.
Midfield dominance will be key
The last time these two teams met in the league, OL made light work of PSG in front of their home fans. The title holders sealed their 17th league title that day and their midfield played a key role in securing that win. That day, a midfield of Amandine Henry, Jess Fishlock and Dzsenifer Marozsán ran circles around PSG’s midfield which featured Formiga, Aminata Diallo and Grace Geyoro.
This season, OL’s midfield will not have Fishlock, but Japanese international Saki Kumagai, who was on the bench for that match in April, is more than a capable replacement. Marozsán has started this season in spectacular fashion for both club and country so we can expect her to be just as brilliant against PSG if she’s given the same kind of space to operate in that PSG gave her the last time she faced them.
For PSG, Sara Däbritz is a welcome addition to their midfield. The German international gives their midfield better control and also a creative outlet that they had not previously had. OL will be sure to try and stop Däbritz from shining on Saturday but if they do not, she has the ability to hurt them just as effectively as her compatriot who will be on the other side of the ball.
Matches between the two sides are usually close affairs so having the right tactics in midfield will go a long way in deciding who will win this match. Both midfields have the ability to dominate and contain each other so it may simply come down to who wants it more when the first whistle blows this weekend.
Casual errors have been evident this season
Coming into the match on Saturday, both teams had dropped points against opponents that they should have had no trouble beating. Three matches ago, Saturday’s hosts Olympique Lyonnais, drew 0-0 away to Dijon FCO. This was a shock to many as OL had taken their strongest team to Dijon yet failed to find the back of the net. The French champions had many chances to get at least one goal but failed to find their shooting boots, so to speak, on the day and thus were left wondering how they managed to draw against Dijon.
Paris Saint-Germain were not any more impressive last time out as they dropped two points at home to En Avant de Guingamp. Although they managed to score, they also conceded a silly own goal which then led to Guingamp doing everything they could to pick up a big point in Paris. Again, PSG were not short of quality players who could win the game for them but just as OL did against Dijon, PSG failed to breach their opponent’s goal enough times to win the game.
When these two teams play each other, there is rarely such casualness in their play. Both teams will be looking to avoid the types of mental errors that crept in during their only draws so far this season. Knowing who they will be up against this weekend will certainly help with that.
Kick off is scheduled for 11:30am ET. There is no available broadcast in the United States. The game will air locally on Canal+.