Preview: Nantes - PSG Handball

On Thursday night, Paris Saint-Germain Handball travel to the Halle XXL to take on Nantes in the closing match of the Lidl StarLigue's Round 12. Both these excellent sides have made an impressive start to the season…

Two prolific attacks There is little doubt that it will be a high-scoring affair. How could in not be? The sides own the league's best attacking record, with 336 goals apiece after 11 matches. Their nearest rivals are Toulouse, well behind on 323. Both sides' front lines have tormented opposition defence, the H scoring 45 against Tremblay while the Rouge et Bleu have scored over 30 goals in eight of their 11 outings.

Two exceptional strikers
It's hardly a secret that these sides' success in attack has a lot to do with their two outstanding marksmen. In this sector, the capital club has the slight advantage, with top scorer Uwe Gensheimer sitting atop the Lidl StarLigue's scorers chart with 70 goals. Behind him are Toulouse's Nemanja Ilic and Nantes' David Balaguer, each on 60 strikes. Aside from their elite striking skills, these protagonists have more in common: they play on the wing and they are both shining in European competition. While Uwe again stands out slightly more, with 68 goals, the Spain international proved his mettle with a 5 from 5 against no less an opponent that Barcelona in their recent fixture.

Two quality European campaigns
The Rouge et Bleu and the H have also had fairly similar runs in Europe so far this season, and both sides clinched qualification for the knockout rounds last weekend. Paris firmed atop Group B with their win over Aalborg (31-28), while Nantes sent Barcelona packing back to Spain (29-25). This exploit puts the H within three points of leaders Vardar Skopje, leaving them with a chance of topping the group as well. Paris and Nantes clashed in last season's Velux EHF Champions League Round of 16, with the capital club coming out on top.

Both sides obliged to win
The reigning French champions and their runners-up from last season both need a win on Thursday night if they want to stay within striking distance of Montpellier, currently outright leaders with a three-point lead over Nîmes and Paris. Nantes are a bit further behind, with a seven-point gap between them and top spot, with four losses so far this season. Thus another defeat could cost them dearly. Meanwhile, Zvonimir Serdarusic's men drew level with Nîmes last week and can make up more ground on MHB should they slip up away to Ivry. To do that, however, it will take an enormous performance.

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

Check out the full Lidl StarLigue standings here!

(Credits: PSG)