With their mid-week European exploits out of the way, Marseille and Paris St Germain would ordinarily be looking forward to business as usual for an always-exciting Ligue 1 clash when the teams meet this weekend.
There's only one problem: the influx of money at PSG has sent the club spinning into a completely different orbit from their old rival, with the once-mighty Marseille now overshadowed by a Parisian side that won its first league title in a generation just a few months ago.
The Champions League results this week only served to emphasise the gulf that exists between the two clubs: Marsille come to the Parc des Princes smarting after a 3-0 demoltion at the hands of Borussia Dortmund, while PSG are fresh off a morale-boosting 3-0 win over Benfica.
Yet despite the gulf in spending and ambition between the sides, just a point separates them in the league with Marseille just a point behind the cash-laden duo of PSG and Monaco at the top of Ligue 1.
PSG's three-man central midfield combination of Blaise Matuidid, Marco Verrati and Thiago Motta during the week looked superb, with the team looking in its best shape of the season despite the absence of Javier Pastore.
And with that trio dictating the game from the centre, the attacking trio of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked devastatingly unhindered as they were free to pick Benfica apart.
By contrast, Marseille appear to be very much a work in progress, with Mathieu Valbuena the only player whose form has been beyond criticism.
OM coach Elie Baup might have tinkered and changed, however, but one thing is certain: his men will be fired up more than ever for a match that is still known as France's Le Clasique, irrespective of Monaco buying their way to a place at the top of the table.
It's Monaco who could well be the beneficiaries of a full-blooded clash between PSG and OM, however: should the two old rivals cancel each other out in a draw, Claudio Ranieri's men will have a great chance to open up some daylight at the top.
Opta head-to-head stats
- PSG have won four of their last five competitive games against Marseille.
- PSG have scored exactly two goals in each of their last five competitive games against Marseille. They have won the last three, all of them 2-0.
- Marseille have lost only one of their last nine Ligue 1 games at home against PSG (W5 D3).
- PSG have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine visits to Marseille in Ligue 1.
- Marseille have won 10 of their last 14 games at home in Ligue 1 (D2 L2).
- PSG are unbeaten in their last 19 top-flight games (W14 D5), the longest current run in Ligue 1.
- Marseille are the only team yet to concede a goal in the first 30 minutes in Ligue 1 this season.
- PSG are the only team to have scored in all of their Ligue 1 games this season.
- PSG have never conceded more than one goal in their last 17 games in Ligue 1.
- Mathieu Valbuena has been involved in four of Marseille’s last six goals in Ligue 1 (1 goal and 3 assists).
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored five goals in three games against Marseille (3 in Ligue 1 and 2 in the French Cup), his favourite prey since he joined PSG last season.
- Laurent Blanc has won his three Ligue 1 encounters with Elie Baup as managers.
- The match official Clement Turpin has given the most red cards in Ligue 1 since last season (17 in 25 games).
European matches covered live on site this weekend:
Eurosport / Opta / Reuters
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