A fantastic farewell

The context:

On Thursday night, Paris Saint-Germain Handball played host to Cesson-Rennes in their Lidl Starligue Round 26 fixture at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin. While the visitors were still battling to beat the drop, sporting concerns were secondary for the capital club, who were assured of ending the season as Champions of France even before the match began. Chief among the Parisians' concerns was saying farewell to Luka Stepancic, Uwe Gensheimer and captain Thierry Omeyer, who was playing the last match of a legendary 25-year career.The match preamble was filled with tributes for our three heroes.

The match:

With the initial festivities out of the way, Les Rouge et Bleu got right down to business. Titi got off to a flyer, denying several efforts from the Brittany club's front line in the opening minutes (7’: 3-2). He notably snaffled up Allan Villeminot's penalty shot to help his side to a promising lead (12’: 7-3). The other outgoing Parisians also pulled out all the stops, hitting the target with regularity and sometimes a dose of the spectacular. Uwe struck with a rare lobbed penalty before pulling out a trademark wrist shot to best Alexandru Bucataru once again (20’: 11-6). The German international made certain sure to fill his farewell to the Parisian arena with goals (25’: 13-9), hitting his eighth of the match to round out the first half scoring (30’: 16-10).

The half-time break did nothing to slow down the Parisian juggernaut, and Raul Gonzalez's men kept their foot on the gas in the second term, offering the fans a fantastic show. While Titi saved another penalty, Luc Abalo played Sander Sagosen in to score with a kung-fu (31’: 17-10); Uwe went back to the well and produced another successful wrist shot from the penalty line; and Viran Morros scored from his own half to bring Coubertin to its feet (40’: 21-13). The atmosphere was electric and each move from the home side was greeted by a raucous chorus from the entire arena (47’: 24-16). The players rode the wave of support, with Dylan Nahi defying the laws of gravity as he lobbed the visiting 'keeper (53’: 27-18). The match couldn't end without a goal from Thierry Omeyer, and it finally came in the dying minutes: after making a save, he struck from his own half to put Paris Saint-Germain ten goals to the good (54’: 28-18). A few moments later, Paris ended the 2018-19 Lidl Starligue campaign with victory (29-20).

The Parisian in the match:

The Parisian in the match should, for this match, be conjugated in the plural. Our three departing players - Luka Stepancic, Uwe Gensheimer and Thierry Omeyer - all turned in superb performances in their last outings for Les Rouge et Bleu. The first two bagged two and ten goals respectively, with Uwe taking his overall Lidl Starligue goal tally to 399 in three seasons. Meanwhile, Titi made 15 saves at 44%. At the match's end all three received a magnificent ovation from their faithful fans.

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The word: Party

This last round of the season was a huge celebration. Beyond the fact that it brought a 24th win in 26 Lidl Starligue matches (one draw and one defeat) and was the swan song of the legendary Thierry Omeyer, it was also the occasion for Paris Saint-Germain Handball to lift their championship trophy - the sixth in club history and their fifth in a row.

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Coming up:

The season is now over and, after our internationals turn out for their countries, the players will all be on holidays. They will return to training in late July and play the first official match on 31 August against Montpellier in the Trophée des Champions in Limoges.

(Credits: TeamPics/PSG)