Metz v Paris Saint-Germain: Champions look to crank up pressure on Marseille

Paris Saint-Germain can pile the pressure on Ligue 1 leaders Marseille when they return to action on Friday against Metz.

The champions' trip to the Stade Saint-Symphorien is the first game of the French top flight following the international break, with Marseille not in action until Sunday.

PSG and Marseille went head to head prior to the international fixtures, with goals from Lucas Moura and Edinson Cavani striking a blow for the defending champions against Marcelo Bielsa's pacesetting side.

Laurent Blanc's men can continue their fightback to regain top spot this week and could find themselves in first place by the time Marseille face Bordeaux at the Stade Velodrome.

PSG and Metz have not met since January 2008 - a comfortable 3-0 win for the Parisians - though the Ligue 2 champions will take heart from an encouraging top-flight return which leaves them ninth thanks to five wins and three draws from their opening 13 games. 

However, Blanc spoke in midweek of his frustration at the staggered return of his players from international duty, and the PSG boss has fitness fears over striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who aggravated a heel injury while in action for Sweden.

"This is a particularly special week," he told the club's official website.

"There is a match to prepare for but [the squad] will not be complete until Thursday. This is not the best preparation, but we must make do.

"We must therefore return competitively on Friday, knowing that we still have six games left before the winter break.

"Our ambition is to take the most points possible."

Ibrahimovic's absence would likely bolster Metz hopes ahead of their most high-profile game since returning to Ligue 1.

Albert Cartier's men are yet to taste defeat at home in the league this term, and have beaten title-chasing Lyon on their own patch.

Cartier is likely to hand Romain Rocchi his first league start since August following an ankle injury.

Metz would go seventh with a win - with their near rivals to play later in the weekend - and Cartier is eager for his charges to be tested by a strong PSG side.

In particular, Cartier wants to see talismanic striker Ibrahimovic feature, with the 33-year-old having returned from injury off the bench against Marseille last time out.

"If you play a little too low against him, you're sure to be punished," he told radio station France Bleu.

"We want to play against PSG and against a PSG with Zlatan. If Zlatan was not there, something would be missing for everyone here."