Preview: Montpellier – PSG Handball

On Thursday, Paris Saint-Germain Handball play their last match for 2017, closing out the Lidl StarLigue's Round 13 with a trip to the Sud de France Arena to take on league leaders Montpellier.

A near-perfect record
The MHB are already assured of finishing 2017 at the top of the Lidl StarLigue rankings, a privilege they have earned with a near-perfect run in the first half of the season. No-one has been able to resist them… or almost. Only Saint-Raphaël have managed to take a point in Bougnol, Raphaël Caucheteux striking two seconds from time to earn a draw (28-28). Other than that, it has been 12 win from as many matches, including triumphs over Nantes (27-30) and Toulouse (36-25).

Gérard, 'keeper in a solid defence
Such performances wouldn't have been possible without an hermetic defence. It's no surprise to see Montpellier in top spot on the defensive table, with 287 goals conceded. Paris are just behind them on 306. Vincent Gérard, who has signed to join the capital club in 2019, will thus not have to take a big step down, For the moment, the France international sits second on the Lidl StarLigue table for saves made (136) and has featured no fewer than five times in the Top Five Saves so far this season.

A new pivot at MHB
After losing pivot Ludovic Fabregas to a long-term injury, Patrice Canayer and his staff quickly found a solution. Enter Egyptian international Mohamed Mamdouh, who had been plying his trade at Aix-en-Provence, and who has scored 32 goals with Montpellier so far this season. He managed to beat our 'keepers on two occasions when Paris fell at the Arena du Pays d’Aix (33-31). In 2016-2017, his first campaign in our league, the 28-year-old bagged 69 goals and is now one of the Montpellier coach's trusted weapons.

A high-stakes clash
This final match of 2017 is of great importance to the Rouge et Bleu. Currently four points shy of Montpellier, our lads could find themselves heading into the second half of the season even further adrift should they lose. On the other hand, a win would allow Zvonimir Serdarusic's men to claw their way back to within two points while enjoying the advantage of playing their second match of the season against Montpellier at home at Coubertin. They could also pip Nantes to second place, who are playing host to Aix. There is no doubt that Paris Saint-Germain Handball are about to play one of the most crucial matches of their Lidl StarLigue campaign.

To follow the match (throw-off at 20:45)

(Credits: PSG)