PSG begin ‘new’ Mbappe era away to Clermont

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain begin their bid for a record 11th Ligue 1 title at modest Clermont in a season where games will be played on New Year’s Day.

The opening round for France’s top flight begins on the weekend of Aug. 5-7 and the league will have games on Jan. 1 and 2 for the first time because of a break for the 2022 World Cup.

There will be a six-week hiatus for the showpiece event in Qatar, with the winter break starting on Nov. 14 and play resuming on Dec. 28 with a midweek round. (Click here for full schedule).

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Kylian Mbappe will be still be the star man for PSG after he ended rumours of a departure to join Real Madrid by signing a new deal in May to stay in Paris for three more years.

There will likely be a coaching change for the defending champions, however, as manager Mauricio Pochettino is expected to be replaced before the start of the 2022-23 campaign following PSG’s failure to reach the Champions League quarterfinals and loss in the Coupe de France final.

PSG share the record for titles with 10-time champions Marseille and Saint-Etienne, who were relegated last season along with six-time winner Bordeaux.

Their week one opponent Clermont finished in 17th place last season to avoid relegation.

Marseille was runner-up last season to qualify automatically for the Champions League, and starts the season at home to Reims.

AS Monaco, who finished third to enter the Champions League qualifying rounds, have a tough match at Alsace-based Strasbourg.

It was not yet decided who will play in the season-opening Friday night match on Aug. 5.

The league will also end later than usual this year with the final round of matches coming on June 3.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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