Preview: PSG Handball – Nantes

Following hot on the heels of their Lidl StarLigue draw last week (27-27), Paris Saint-Germain Handball and Nantes face off once again on Thursday night in the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-finals. The clash at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin looks set to be another hard-fought affair.

A final revisited
Paris, the reigning champions, are just one step away from the Final4 (in Metz in March 2018) and a chance to defend their title. Last season, the Rouge et Bleu lifted the first Coupe de la Ligue trophy in the club's history after winning the final against… Nantes! After a win on the buzzer over Saint-Raphaël the previous evening (31-32), they won in style on 8 April (31-27) thanks notably to an eight-goal haul from Nedim Remili and the same number of saves from former Nantes 'keeper Gorazd Skof.

A look back at the league clash
These two sides know each other well from a long list of previous meetings - the latest of which was as recent as last week, in the Lidl StarLigue. That match yielded a valuable lesson about this impending cup clash: it will be tight! While our players dominated for long stretches, the dying stages were much more competitive. Once again, Nedim shone with eight goals, equal with Nantes danger man Nicolas Tournant, and at the end of a nail-biting conclusion, the points were shared (27-27).

The previous round
Paris and Nantes will both be taking part in their second match of the competition this season. The H were up against Lidl StarLigue side Saint-Raphaël, and Thierry Anti's men did a solid job to earn a quarters berth (33-28). Meanwhile the capital club travelled to Proligue outfit Pontault-Combault who, despite a courageous performance, ceded a place in the next round to Thierry Omeyer (8 saves) and his teammates (23-30).

Head to head
While our side won their last meeting with Nantes in the Coupe de la Ligue, the overall head-to-head record between the sides doesn't favour the capital club. Indeed, when the Rouge et Bleu won the final in Reims, it was their first and only win over The H in the competition. However, it is always a hard-fought affair when the two sides clash. The five-goal defeat conceded in 2011 aside, Paris Saint-Germain Handball have never lost to Nantes by more than one goal (35-36 in 2012; 24-25 in 2014). Going into Thursday's match, Paris are at an historical disadvantage of three wins to one.

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

(Credits: PSG)