Lille v Metz: Preview
Lille will launch their Ligue 1 campaign on Saturday with coach Rene Girard predicting big things from Manchester City loan signing Marcos Lopes.
The 18-year-old has been recruited from the Barclays Premier League champions for the season, and he has already gained rave reviews from Girard.
``Our gazes fell on Lopes,'' Girard told RMC Sport.
``He comes to us having participated in this year's Under-19 European Championship, where Portugal were beaten by Germany in the final.
``He has a great left foot and is a good passer.
``What he brings us is bundles of technique. He is young and ambitious.
``After a discussion with their reserves coach Patrick Vieira, Man City decided that Lille would be an ideal place for him to grow further as a player.''
Lille, having finished third in Ligue 1 last season, will expect to launch the new campaign on home soil at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in winning fashion against newly-promoted Metz.
``We have two objectives for the season,'' Girard told the club's official website losc.fr.
``The first is the championship, which remains the most important competition for the club. The second is the European Cup, to know where we stand at the continental level.
``Then comes what I call the 'appetisers', namely the domestic cups. The League Cup is a quick way to get to Europe, especially if it does not go very well in the league.''
Metz won Ligue 2 by an 11-point margin last season, but coach Albert Cartier knows a considerable challenge now awaits his players in French football's top flight.
``We are no longer in the National or in Ligue 2, and values alone will not suffice,'' he told ligue1.com.
``We need to play in a creative manner and also be very strong defensively, otherwise we'll blow up.
``When I applied to become Metz coach, the proposition was to get the club into Ligue 1 and keep them there. The objective has been set clearly by the president, and that is to stay in Ligue 1.''