This Wednesday sees a full programme of Ligue 1 matches, and it's bad news for bottom club Angers, who travel to the Parc des Princes to face a Paris Saint-Germain side boosted by the return of Lionel Messi.

Despite the riches at Christophe Galtier's disposal, the 35-year-old is still integral, with the capital club's loss at second-placed Lens on New Year's Day seeing their lead at the top of the table cut to just four points. 

Read on for five major storylines ahead of the midweek action, plus how to watch five of the matches exclusively live on BT Sport. 

Join the home of live football today

TNT Sports is the only place to watch live Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and much more.

Messi returns - and so does Neymar

The World Cup felt almost perfectly scripted for Lionel Messi to complete his haul of major trophies, ending 36 years of hurt for Argentina following that amazing final against France.

Understandably, an achievement of that magnitude needed to be followed by a period of celebration and recuperation - but now he is ready to inflict pain on teams from the country he vanquished in the Middle East. 

Angers are set to be the unlucky victims, and having suffered nine league defeats on the spin heading into this fixture, the bottom club will be hoping to draw inspiration from the battling display they put in last season in Paris.

Along with Messi, Neymar is set to reclaim his spot in the starting XI after picking up a petulant pair of yellow cards against Strasbourg as the South Americans prepare to take their places either side of Kylian Mbappe once again. 

Neymar and Lionel Messi in conversation during Paris Saint-Germain training
Neymar and Lionel Messi should both be back to face bottom club Angers

Galtier's side aren't sitting wholly comfortably though, with their bitterly-disappointing 3-1 loss at Lens last time out in the league giving their opponents a chink of light in what had looked like a non-existent title race. 

Angers will have seen several moments of frailty in Paris Saint-Germain's defence that were sorely evident throughout that contest, and will be slightly buoyed after scraping past Strasbourg on penalties in the Coupe de France. 

Unfortunately for the footballing romantic - and Angers fans - Wednesday's visitors are nowhere near as good as Lens, even if Morocco duo Azzedine Ounahi and Sofiane Boufal have returned from their own post-World Cup break.

Only Ajaccio have scored fewer than Angers' 16 goals in France's top flight this term, and while PSG are without Achraf Hakimi through suspension and Nuno Mendes, Presnel Kimpembe and Renato Sanches due to injury, the sheer firepower in their ranks should be enough to comfortably see them over the line.

In-form Marseille face tough Troyes trip

Marseille are one of just two Ligue 1 teams who have won both their matches since the restart (the other being Monaco), and while a title tilt looks a long shot, they can strengthen their grip on third place and Champions League qualification with victory.

L'OM will have to make the journey north without Nuno Tavares, who scored his fifth goal of the campaign in emphatic fashion at Montpellier before earning a red card that will keep him out of the next three league matches. 

Troyes are certainly no pushovers though and have done reasonably well so far under new boss, former Leeds and Leicester centre-back Patrick Kisnorbo. 

A 0-0 draw at home to Nantes underlined their defensive qualities, before a seesaw encounter eventually saw ESTAC prevail 3-2 without talisman Mama Balde at Strasbourg.

Balde did return however in the 2-0 Coupe de France loss at Lille, and he will be targeting his first goal against the club from Bouches-du-Rhone after five previous meetings without finding the back of the net. 

Can Lorient pick up lost momentum?

Lorient looked on course to be Ligue 1's heartwarming underdog story after roaring up to second in early October, before going to pick up just three points from the following 18 on offer to drop to seventh. 

However, a much-needed late comeback victory at Angers - completed by Enzo Le Fee's 88th-minute explosive winner - got Les Merlus' 2023 off to the perfect start. 

Regis Le Bris' charges are now back up to sixth and lie just five points off Marseille in third, although their next challenge is a stiff competitor in Monaco, who are fifth. 

The principality outfit have won both their post-Christmas league matches, coming out on top in a thrilling battle at Auxerre before a less eventful affair saw them see off Brest 1-0 thanks to Aleksandr Golovin's laser-like drive. 

Those games were followed by a loss to second-tier Rodez in the Coupe de France (albeit playing a weakened side).

A win for Philippe Clement's side here however will see them leapfrog Rennes into fourth if the Roazhon Park club lose at Clermont, as the race for the European places hots up.

Lorient players and staff celebrate with their fans after beating Angers
Lorient gained a much-needed three points at Angers to kick their European push back into life

Brest end three-month manager search

Having sacked Michel der Zakarian on 11 October, Brest have finally appointed his successor Eric Roy - 85 days later. 

Since Der Zakarian's dismissal, the Bretons have improved under the interim stewardship of Bruno Grougi, rising from bottom to 17th, but they remain two points adrift of Ajaccio and safety. 

A midfielder for Lyon, Marseille and Sunderland in his playing days, Roy's only previous managerial job was at Nice between March 2010 and November 2011.

After a positive start that saw him lose just one of his first 11 games, the Eagles only just avoided relegation in 2010/11 before an inconsistent start to the following campaign saw Roy dismissed. 

Sporting directorships followed for Roy at Nice, Lens and Watford, but keeping the Pirates up on his return to the dugout would be a notable feather in the 55-year-old's cap.

His first match in charge will be at home to Paulo Fonseca's Lille, with the Portuguese no doubt looking for a reaction from his side in the league after they dropped two points against Reims. 

Eric Roy is presented as Brest's new manager
Eric Roy has a sizeable task on his hands keeping Brest in Ligue 1 in his first managerial job for more than 11 years

Auxerre desperate for win over Toulouse

Other than bottom club Angers, Auxerre are the only other side in Ligue 1 to have lost their last three games and sit 18th, below Brest on goal difference. 

However, they will certainly be targeting their next clash as very winnable when Toulouse come to town.

Philippe Montanier's men, who were promoted as champions from Ligue 2 last season along with Auxerre, had themselves fallen to defeat in four straight games either side of the World Cup before running out 2-0 winners over Ajaccio - the third promoted club - on New Year's Day. 

Despite that result, the Haute-Garonne outfit can't rest on their laurels six points above the bottom four, and are likely to come up against an Auxerre team reinforced by the signing of 6'9'' centre-back Isaak Toure on loan from Marseille.

Toure's presence is badly needed, with Auxerre's defence the second-worst in the division behind Angers. 

Isaak Toure in action for Marseille in a friendly against Middlesbrough
Auxerre will need 6'9'' centre-back Isaak Toure to make an impression quickly against Toulouse

Your Ligue 1 matchday on BT Sport


Nantes vs Lyon (6pm on BT Sport 2)

Brest vs Lille (6pm on BT Sport 4)


Paris Saint-Germain vs Angers (8pm on BT Sport 2)

Nice vs Montpellier (8pm on BT Sport 4)

Troyes vs Marseille (8pm on BT Sport 5)

Lorient vs Monaco (8pm on BT Sport 6)