Paris Saint-Germain - spearheaded by the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe - host Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes on 28 December as the Ligue 1 season gets back underway after the World Cup.

Christophe Galtier's men come into the game following a seven-match winning streak in all competitions prior to the extended break, meaning they sit five points clear at the top of France's top flight and await Bayern Munich in a mouthwatering last-16 clash in the Champions League during February and March. 

Read on for all the major Matchday 16 storylines, plus information on how you can watch EIGHT games from the competition's return exclusively live on BT Sport.

Mbappe back as Messi parties

Despite his exploits against Argentina, Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick was unable to bring the World Cup back to France as Argentina prevailed on penalties for the second time in the tournament to collect their first Jules Rimet Trophy since 1986. 

Not one to wallow in sadness, Mbappe was back at Paris Saint-Germain's Camp des Loges training centre on Wednesday, just three days after the loss, while team-mate Lionel Messi - the hero of the hour after his two final goals - continues to soak in the adulation after completing his set of silverware and mirroring the achievement of the great Diego Maradona. 

Mbappe's presence at training - along with Neymar's - will not have been welcomed by upcoming opponents Strasbourg, who currently sit 19th and have failed to taste victory in their last five matches, conceding 12 times in the process. 

Mbappe's career record against Le Racing of five goals and four assists in eight games is undeniably impressive, but the Alsace outfit can take pride in the fact that they netted five themselves in their two meetings with the reigning champions last season, including a 3-3 draw at the Stade de la Meinau in which Julien Stephan's side came from 3-1 down to snatch a draw through Anthony Caci's 93rd-minute volley. 

Strasbourg ended up sixth last term - their best finish for 42 years - but this campaign has been a disaster, not helped by the fact that their top scorer in 2021/22, Ludovic Ajorque, has just one goal to his name so far in 2022/23.

No team has draw more games in Europe's top five leagues this season than the Blue and Whites - eight - while their last away match before the World Cup break saw them squander a 2-0 lead against Ajaccio to ultimately lose 4-2. 

Stephan was actually at Argentina vs France as his father Guy is Les Bleus' assistant coach and will know that even without Messi, PSG are still a formidable proposition, especially when you're low in confidence, so anything other than defeat would be an unbelievable result for the club from the east of the country. 

Strasbourg head coach Julien Stephan watches on at the World Cup final
Business or pleasure?: Julien Stephan (in black) at the World Cup final - possibly scouting Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe

Rennes look to hold off Marseille

After a disastrous spell that saw them take just one point from a possible 12 domestically and finish bottom of their Champions League group, Igor Tudor's Marseille recovered some form just prior to the break, defeating Lyon 1-0 before producing a rousing comeback at Stade Louis II, coming from 2-1 down going into the 83rd minute to beat Monaco 3-2 thanks to goals from Jordan Veretout and a 98th-minute flicked Sead Kolasinac header from Dimitri Payet's pinpoint free-kick. 

Those two morale-boosting victories moved L'OM back to within one point of Rennes, who sit third in the last Champions League qualification spot. 

Having narrowly missed out on Europe's premier competition by finishing fourth last season, the Red and Blacks looked to have made life difficult for themselves after picking up only 11 points from eight league games at the start of the campaign. 

However, they have since roared back into contention, with six wins and a draw from seven matches, Martin Terrier and summer signing Amine Gouiri each scoring five in that period, while Armand Kalimuendo and Benjamin Bourigeaud have also impressed. 

Bruno Genesio's men were the second-highest scorers last season in Ligue 1 with a mammoth 82 goals - after Paris Saint-Germain - but they may have a difficult task on their hands on Thursday evening against Reims, who quietly hit some good form in October and November, winning two and drawing five of their last seven games to crawl up to 11th, with Folarin Balogun bagging the decisive goal in both triumphs.

They have been overseen for the last five matches by Belgian-English coach William Still, who has stepped up from assistant to caretaker manager following the sacking of former Brighton boss Oscar Garcia and has picked up nine points (two wins and three draws) since his promotion. 

Marseille meanwhile will feel they have a decent chance of maintaining the feelgood factor around the club by beating a Toulouse side later on Thursday that have lost their previous three games and are just three points above the bottom four following an enterprising start to the campaign upon promotion from Ligue 2 as champions. 

Sead Kolasinac, Bamba Dieng, Dimitri Payet and Nuno Tavares celebrate after Kolasinac's late winner against Monaco
Sead Kolasinac's 98th-minute winner against Monaco sent Marseille into the break in a positive frame of mind

Lorient and Montpellier search for win

Minnows Lorient were looking like becoming European football's biggest success story in 2022/23 after a sixth straight win put them just one point off Paris Saint-Germain in early October. 

However, the last five matches have provided a reality check for the Breton outfit, with draws against Reims and Troyes, followed by losses to Nice and PSG before a 1-1 stalemate with Strasbourg.

Despite these setbacks, Les Merlus are still far higher than they would have imagined at this point of the season, sitting just three points behind third-placed Rennes and the Champions League places, and manager Regis Le Bris will hope star striker Terem Moffi - who has only been outscored by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in Ligue 1 this season - can replicate his form from just before the break, when he scored against both Strasbourg and PSG. 

Like Lorient, Montpellier experienced a slump just before the World Cup and haven't won since 17 September, with the pair facing each other on Thursday afternoon.

The sacking of Olivier Dall'oglio in mid-October has not had the desired effect, but caretaker Romain Pitau will perhaps have confidence in his team's resilience after Sacha Delaye's excellent 91st-minute equaliser snatched a point against Reims that could prove priceless in June. 

Despite that rare moment of positivity though, La Paillade are just one point above 17th-placed Auxerre. A win at the Stade du Moustoir would certainly alleviate some of the pressure. 

Romain Pitau watches on as Montpellier play Reims
Romain Pitau has yet to taste victory in caretaker charge of Montpellier since succeeding Olivier Dall'oglio

Your Ligue 1 weekend on BT Sport


Auxerre vs Monaco (4pm on BT Sport 1)

Clermont vs Lille (6pm on BT Sport 1)

Brest vs Lyon (8pm on BT Sport 4)

Paris Saint-Germain vs Strasbourg (8pm on BT Sport 1)


Lorient vs Montpellier (4pm on BT Sport 1)

Reims vs Rennes (6pm on BT Sport 1)

Marseille vs Toulouse (8pm on BT Sport 1)

Nice vs Lens (8pm on BT Sport 4)