The romance of the Cup is very much alive in France, where Monaco’s trip to fourth-tier amateurs Chasselay in the last 32 on Wednesday will see them come up against one very familiar face.
The principality side, second in Ligue 1, will look to avoid an upset when they meet opponents who are battling to avoid relegation from the French Amateur Championship.
Chasselay are struggling despite the presence in their side of one of the most decorated players in the recent history of French football.
Now 37, Ludovic Giuly enjoyed two spells with Monaco, captaining them on their run to the 2004 Champions League final first time around and then returning for a season in the second division two years ago.
In between, the little winger won the Champions League and two Spanish titles with Barcelona, had a spell with Roma and spent three years at Paris Saint-Germain, helping them beat Monaco in the 2010 French Cup final.
After ending his top-level career last year, Giuly returned to his native Lyon and joined tiny Chasselay, his very first club who are coached by Stephane Santini, son of former France boss Jacques Santini.
Together, they are plotting the downfall of Radamel Falcao’s Monaco in a game that will be played at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland rather than at their own modest home, the Stade Ludovic Giuly.
“This is like a jubilee for me. It couldn’t be better. We will try to pull off a shock,” said Giuly, and plenty of other minnows will try to do the same thing.
Lille, who are third in Ligue 1, are preparing for a derby against fifth-tier minnows Croix, who hail from the suburbs of the northern French city.
Meanwhile, in-form Lyon go to fourth division outfit Yzeure, who eliminated Ligue 1 Lorient in the last round, and the holders Bordeaux go to Corsica to face Ile-Rousse.
There are also two all-Ligue 1 ties, with Marseille facing Nice in a south-coast derby that has added importance for both teams given that the French Cup is their only chance of winning a trophy this season.
“It is an objective for us because it’s a trophy so we will do everything we can to win it,” said OM coach Jose Anigo ahead of the match at the Stade Velodrome.
The last two Ligue 1 champions also go head to head, with Paris Saint-Germain hosting Montpellier at the Parc des Princes, where the capital club have not lost since November 2012.
Already five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and through to the semi-finals of the League Cup, PSG are chasing an unprecedented domestic treble and few expect them to have any problems against a struggling Montpellier side, even if they have shown signs of improvement recently.
Fixtures (kick-offs GMT)
AC Ajaccio v Caen (1700), Lens v SC Bastia (1730), Boulogne-sur-Mer v Rennes, Angers v Sochaux, Sete v Jura Sud (all 1800), Concarneau v Guingamp, Croix v Lille (both 1830), CA Bastia v Niort (1900), Marseille v Nice (2000)
Chasselay v Monaco (1600), Ile-Rousse v Bordeaux (1700), Yzeure v Lyon (1800), Moulins v Toulouse (1830), Paris Saint-Germain v Montpellier (1955)
Auxerre v Dijon (1730), Cannes v Plabennec (1900)