PARIS (AP) — With Zlatan Ibrahimovic in ruthless form, lowly Sochaux has every reason to dread its trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the French league on Saturday.
Even by his high standards, Ibrahimovic has made a strong start to his PSG career, scoring seven times in five league games and eight in six matches overall. With that ratio, the imposing Swede is being widely expected to break the 30-goal barrier set by France striker Jean-Pierre Papin in the 1989-90 season.
"He is scary when he gets on the ball. Everyone's in awe of him," PSG forward Guillaume Hoarau said. "It wouldn't surprise me if he beats a scoring record this season."
PSG's other strikers can hardly expect to get a chance with Ibrahimovic around, with Hoarau playing only one minute so far.
Not that Hoarau seems to mind watching him from the bench.
"Seeing Zlatan every day in training helps you to learn," Hoarau told RMC radio station. "I respect him because coming to a new club, giving everything in training, always having that will to win, is something I wasn't familiar with. It puts you in your place. You tell yourself, 'Right, I have to get down to work.' That's why I'm happy."
PSG drew its opening three league games, but has won its past three in the league, and past four overall, to climb into third place in the league, two points behind Lyon but still six behind Marseille. All three teams are still unbeaten in all competitions this season.
"We have to make the most of the Sochaux match to keep our winning run going," PSG left back Maxwell said. "An unbeatable team doesn't exist, whether it's in France or another country. We're keeping our focus. We're all aware that we will have to fight hard to claw back the points we dropped earlier in the season."
Marseille aims to maintain its perfect start with a win at Valenciennes on Sunday, when Lyon hosts Bordeaux.
"It's better to have a positive pressure like this rather than a negative one," Marseille left back Jeremy Morel said. "It's more interesting to play in this context, where every team wants to beat you to put an end to your winning run."
Marseille had a scare on Wednesday when striker Andre-Pierre Gignac limped out of training after receiving a heavy blow to his left ankle. But the club's top scorer later reassured fans on his Twitter page that he hopes his ankle "will be fine" after a bit of medical treatment.
But if Gignac struggles to be fit for Sunday's match, then coach Elie Baup may turn to Loic Remy, who is pushing for his first start of the season after working his way back into shape following the bothersome thigh injury that ruled him out of the European Championship.
Remy was Marseille's top scorer last season with 12 league goals, but Giganc's unexpected return to form has seen him take the spotlight. Gignac, who was overweight and struggled to get a game last season, was voted as the league's best player for September.
Meanwhile, Bastia's fans will not be allowed to travel to Nice on Saturday for security reasons because there is a history of fan violence between the teams.
In Saturday's other matches, it's: Ajaccio vs. Brest; Evian vs. Lorient; Nancy vs. Montpellier; and Troyes vs. Toulouse. Saint-Etienne takes on Reims in Sunday's other game.