Big freeze hits French Cup fixtures
Arctic conditions throughout France have forced the country's football authorities to postpone three last-16 encounters in the French Cup.
Last year's runners-up Paris Saint-Germain had their tie against Dijon - originally scheduled for tonight in Burgundy - pushed back to next Wednesday, while Marseille's trip to fourth division Bourg-Peronnas was also rescheduled. The tie between Quevilly and Orleans - a battle between third and fourth-tier sides respectively - also fell victim to the sub-zero temperatures.
Of the games still going ahead, defending champions Lille travel to Ligue 1 rivals Valencinnes on Wednesday. Rudi Garcia's side are third in the league, but have won just one of their past four matches in the top flight.
Lille's match against Sochaux on Sunday was postponed because of snow, and Garcia believes his players will be the "fresher" of the two sides. "We know that we will without doubt be fresher than Valenciennes, who confronted Dijon this weekend," he said. "We hope that it won't be too complicated because the absence of matches is going to start becoming a problem in terms of rhythm. For the moment, my players are well and they worked in good spirits at Stade Bonal."
Right-back Mathieu Debuchy insists the club's triumph last year has made them eager to repeat their success this season. "Wednesday's match won't have the same flavour as the Championship. It's a very important Cup match for us because we have the desire to return to the Stade de France," Debuchy said. "The only way to achieve it is to qualify. We want to win at any cost to continue to dream. Last season, what happened was magical. It gives us the means to re-live it," he added.
Elsewhere, Lyon host Bordeaux, who are unbeaten in 2012. Ligue 2 side Chateauroux are out to emulate Guingamp's improbable 2009 triumph, but they face a tricky encounter against Ligue 1 high-flyers Montpellier. Third division Gazelec Ajaccio take on fourth-tier Drancy in Corsica, while Tuesday's lone tie sees Rennes welcome Evian to Brittany.