Five things to watch during Ligue 1 Matchday 28 as Paris Saint-Germain host Champions League-chasing Rennes - live on BT Sport!

The defending champions enjoyed the ideal weekend last time out, securing a late winner at Brest before Marseille and Monaco slipped up against Strasbourg and Reims respectively.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 18 March 2023 - 1.22am
Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring a 90th-minute winner at Brest

After leaving it late to secure a victory at relegation-threatened Brest that moves them 10 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, Paris Saint-Germain host a fifth-placed Rennes side who are just four points adrift of Monaco as the race for the European places hots up. 

The final fixture of the weekend sees Marseille face Will Still's Reims, hoping to finally inflict a first French top-flight defeat on the Belgian-British manager, while Lens will be hoping to continue the momentum from their 4-0 thrashing of Clermont when they host bottom club Angers on Saturday night. 

Monaco travel to Corsica to face Ajaccio in the Sunday lunchtime kick-off, aiming to avenge last weekend's loss at home to Reims and move back into the top three as Lille make the tough trip to Toulouse aiming to stay on Rennes' coat-tails. 

Read on for the lowdown on the weekend's main storylines, plus information on how you can watch six Ligue 1 games live on BT Sport.

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Mbappe again shows Kyl-ler instinct

It wasn't pretty, but Paris Saint-Germain found a way past a stubborn Brest outfit to strengthen their hold on first place and remain on course to defend their title. 

Christophe Galtier's men were no doubt looking to produce an emphatic response to their rather insipid Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, and while the capital club weren't at their clinical best, they took the lead on 37 minutes.

Kylian Mbappe's fierce drive was punched away by home goalkeeper Marco Bizot, but only into the path of Carlos Soler, who applied the finish having hit the bar earlier in the encounter. 

Brest however clicked into gear and claimed an unexpected equaliser shortly before the break as Romain del Castillo's lovely floated pass over the top of the visitors' defence was latched onto by Franck Honorat, who drifted past Sergio Ramos and Timothee Pembele before finishing high past Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

It was Mbappe though who had the last word, finishing off a clinical counter-attack as Nuno Mendes swept a pass into the path of Lionel Messi, and the World Cup winner's first-time through-ball landed perfectly at the feet of the 24-year-old for him to round Bizot and break Breton hearts, moving level with Jonathan David on 19 league goals this season in the process. 

It is the third time since the campaign resumed in late December that PSG have snatched a late winner - after 95th-minute winners by Mbappe and Messi at home to Strasbourg and Lille respectively - and while there are weekends when the team's title challengers gain ground, that hard work is often swiftly undone.

Galtier will hope to have Achraf Hakimi back fit for the visit of Rennes on Sunday, but the contest looks set to come too soon for Marquinhos and Nordi Mukiele, while Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles) and Neymar (ankle) are out for the remainder of 2022/23. 

Despite the frustration of Rennes' goalless draw at Auxerre last Saturday, Bruno Genesio's side did actually move a point closer to fourth-placed Monaco and the Europa League spot. 

It may be somewhat of a worry for Genesio that his charges have only netted once in their last three matches, but Les Rouges et Noirs demonstrated during the reverse fixture against PSG that they have the quality to outwit them when Hamari Traore bagged the only goal of the game back in January. 

Reims Still unbeaten under Will

The endless social-media recycling of Will Still's unorthodox route into management may have got a little tiresome, but the 30-year-old's achievements deserve to be highlighted. 

Having taken over a side that looked set to be embroiled in a relegation dogfight, the Belgium-born coach with English parents has masterminded a remarkable rise up the league, guiding the tiny Marne outfit to their current dizzying heights of eighth, just four points off the top five. 

Since Still's appointment, only Paris Saint-Germain have earned more points than Reims, who haven't lost in the 19 league games he has taken charge of, although the team's latest win over Monaco was the first time they have strung three victories together under his tutelage. 

Another key component of Reims' renaissance has been the form of Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun.

The 21-year-old notched up his 16th league goal of the campaign with the winner at Monaco, producing clever movement to beat the offside trap and squeeze a shot past Alexander Nubel.

Still will have a tough job convincing Mikel Arteta to keep the England youth international at Stade Auguste-Delaune beyond this summer, but you wouldn't put it past the club to unearth a capable replacement if push comes to shove. 

Reims are also on a streak of six successive clean sheets - a record unmatched in Europe's top-five leagues - in large part the result of a settled recent rearguard comprising goalkeeper Yehvann Diouf and a back four of Thomas Foket, teenage centre-back Cheick Keita, 35-year-old captain Yunes Abdelhamid and left-back Thibault De Smet.

That record will come under serious threat from Marseille, who will be aiming for a reaction after squandering a two-goal lead within the space of two minutes late on against Strasbourg, although L'OM were down to 10 men for the majority of the encounter following centre-back Leonardo Balerdi's straight red card for pulling back Habib Diallo when the striker looked to bear down on goal. 

Balerdi is now suspended for this weekend's clash, with Samuel Gigot the most likely candidate to step up in his absence. 

Will Still looks exasperated during Reims' 1-0 win over Ajaccio
Did you know that Reims manager Will Still has masterminded a 19-game unbeaten league run and he doesn't even have his UEFA Pro Licence?

Champions League Opend-ing for Lens?

Last weekend proved significant in Ligue 1 as Lois Openda bagged the joint-fastest hat-trick in the competition since the turn of the century. 

The 23-year-old's treble came in the space of just four minutes and 30 seconds and ended Lens' game at Clermont as a contest before half-time, with the forward assisting the fourth and final strike at Stade Gabriel-Montpied for Alexis Claude-Maurice to finish in style as the Pas-de-Calais outfit leapfrogged Monaco into the top three. 

Franck Haise's men will again fancy their chances this weekend against an Angers side surely dead and buried as they sit bottom of the table, 13 points adrift of safety. 

Without a victory since 18 September, Le SCO's new caretaker boss Alexandre Dujeux has pretty much an impossible job on his hands, especially after the departures of key men Azzedine Ounahi and Sofiane Boufal following their exploits for Morocco at the World Cup. 

Some disastrous defending proved Angers' undoing last time out in Dujeux's first match at the helm as Les Noirs et Blancs lost 2-0 at home to Toulouse, and with 60 league goals conceded this season - the highest in the division - it's hard to see them faring any better against Lens, who possess the best defence in the competition. 

One small positive for Dujeux is the return of influential former Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb from suspension, but the 47-year-old will need his entire squad on their A-game if they are to record one of the most surprising results of the season at Stade Bollaert-Delelis. 

Alexandre Dujeux looks on before Angers' game at home to Toulouse
Alexandre Dujeux will be regarded as one of Ligue 1's greatest-ever escapologists if he keeps Angers up

Monaco aim to get UCL bid back on Cors

Lens' emphatic win at Clermont, combined with Monaco's loss at home to Reims, means that Philippe Clement's men now sit outside the Champions League spots and have both Rennes and Lille snapping at their heels.

In theory, Sunday's visit to Ajaccio should be a game that Les Monegasques feel heavy favourites for, and despite the odds being heavily stacked in their favour, Monaco will have harrowing memories of their last match on the road against struggling Troyes as the principality outfit looked to have turned the contest on its head, only to concede in the 91st minute as former Chelsea youngster Ike Ugbo struck. 

Clement's side haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last seven outings across all competitions - conceding 14 in that period - and have been susceptible to long balls that allow quick strikers to stretch their legs against centre-back Axel Disasi, as Folarin Balogun and Terem Moffi have demonstrated for Reims and Nice respectively to devastating effect in recent weeks. 

Despite Monaco possessing the worst defensive record in the top 10, they can draw considerable comfort from the fact that upcoming opponents Ajaccio have scored the fewest goals in France's top flight this season (20) and have drawn blanks in their previous two outings against Reims and Montpellier, registering just one shot on target in each match. 

The 18th-placed Corsicans are two points adrift of safety, have six players on the sidelines and lost the reverse fixture at Monaco 7-1 in January, with Wissam Ben Yedder bagging a 14th-minute hat-trick and Breel Embolo adding two more in the second half. It's fair to say that Ajaccio are up against it. 

Ajaccio manager Olivier Pantaloni watches on before his team's match at home to Montpellier
Olivier Pantaloni is in his third spell in charge of Ajaccio and has one of the hardest tasks of his managerial career keeping them up this season

Exciting Lille have nothing Toulouse

From a neutral's perspective, Lille have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in Ligue 1 this season under Paulo Fonseca and are right in the mix for European qualification, sitting just one point behind fifth-placed Rennes. 

The 2020/21 champions will feel however that last Friday's 3-3 draw against Lyon was very much two points dropped as the hosts led 2-0 and 3-1, with Jonathan David bagging a second-half hat-trick to briefly make him Ligue 1's outright leading scorer this term before Kylian Mbappe's late winner at Brest. 

All three goals for Lyon were either scored or created down the left-hand side of Lille's defence, with Gabriel Gudmundsson proving particularly culpable as the Sweden international failed to prevent crosses for the visitors' second and third goals, which were both scored by Alexandre Lacazette. 

With their defence badly affected by injury, Fonseca will be hoping that 39-year-old Jose Fonte can shake off the niggle that caused him to miss the Lyon game as right-back Bafode Diakite, centre-back Tiago Djalo and left-back Ismaily remain on the sidelines, the latter two for the long term.

After three league defeats on the bounce, Toulouse got back to winning ways at Angers thanks to two first-half strikes, the second of which was Thijs Dallinga's 10th Ligue 1 goal of the campaign following his summer move from Excelsior. 

If you're looking for a match with goals, this one should provide its fair share. 

Thijs Dallinga (far left) celebrates after scoring Toulouse's second at Angers
Thijs Dallinga has reached double figures for goals in Ligue 1 since making the switch from Excelsior to Toulouse last summer

Your Ligue 1 weekend on BT Sport


Lyon vs Nantes (8pm on BT Sport 5)


Lens vs Angers (8pm on BT Sport 5)


Ajaccio vs Monaco (12pm on BT Sport 2)

Nice vs Lorient (2pm on BT Sport 7)

Paris Saint-Germain vs Rennes (4pm on BT Sport 2)

Reims vs Marseille (7.30pm on BT Sport 2)