Paris Saint-Germain Handball now know who awaits them in the Velux EHF Champions League group stage. Here is the third instalment in our series of portraits of Paris Saint-Germain Handball's Group B opponents: Ukrainian outfit Zaporizhia.
Zaporizhia in a few words
Of the teams that make up Group B, Zaporizhia are perhaps the least-well known in Paris. First of all because the Rouge et Bleu have never taken them on in an official match, but secondly because you can count the number of times they have qualified for the Velux EHF Champions League on one hand. Ahead of the impending campaign, the Ukrainian side have waged five European campaigns, notably reaching the round of 16 in 2014 and 2016.
Their European campaign came to a juddering halt last season, but they did make it to the round of 16 once again before bowing out. In fact they ended the group stage just a point shy of Montpellier, who topped Group D. This second-placed finish set up a play-off with Skjern where, despite mixing it with the Danish side, Zaporizhia came of second-best (33-26 ; 32-30). In the group stage, they even claimed the scalp of the eventual European Champions Montpellier, pulling off a one-point win at the Lokomotiv Sport Complex (31-30).
Despite their elimination, several Zaporizhia players shone brightly during their 12-match campaign - but none more so than their two playmakers. Lithuania's Aidenas Malasinsksas ended the campaign as his side's top scorer with 58 goals, while not far behind, with 53 strikes, was Belarusian Barys Pukhouski. Former Parisian right-back Sergiy Onufriyenko, who bagged 42 goals for Paris in the 2015-2016 Velux EHF Champions League season, had two spells at Zaporizhia before moving to the French capital.
Zaporizhia – Paris: Round 1
Paris – Zaporizhia: Round 14