Five things on Montpellier - PSG Handball
Three days after their precious victory in Nantes (24-26), Paris Saint-Germain Handball are getting right back to action with another high-octane clash - away to second-placed Montpellier - in the Lidl Starligue's Round 13.
First vs second!
If Sunday's clash with The H was a bumpy ride, no doubt Wednesday's class will be equally so! Indeed, although Les Rouge et Bleu go to the south-west as league leaders they will be up against tough opponents in the form of their nearest league rivals. Whereas our team has claimed 11 victories in as many matches (with the Round 11 clash with Istres still to play), Montpellier aren't far off the pace. They have played just nine matches, for seven wins and two draws, and could potentially draw level with the capital club with a win (six points currently separate the two sides). Note that these are the last two teams who still boast an unbeaten record in the Lidl StarLigue this season.
Two European teams
The big matches are coming thick and fast for Raul Gonzalez's men. With two weeks to go before the Velux EHF Final4, they are preparing for the event in the best possible way - against sides competing in Europe's top club competition. Montpellier are in scintillating form in the EHF European League in season 2020-21, currently sitting atop Group C with four wins from as many matches. Hugo Descat has been virtually unplayabale, scoring 32 times (including nine times against the Swedes of Alingsas). Meanwhile, Paris currently occupy fourth in Group A of the EHF Champions League - a competition Montpellier won in 2003 and 2018.
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The match against Nantes was supposed to be a gal fest, with the league's two best offensive lines facing off, but instead what we saw was two goalkeepers shining brightly (12 saves for Emil Nielsen, 20 for Vincent Gérard) and relatively few goals scored. Although Les Rouge et Bleu managed to maintain their status as the Lidl Starligue's most prolific attack (394 goals in 11 games), Montpellier took advantage of the result and snatched second place from Nantes side, boosting their average to 30 goals per game (271 in total). In the Lidl Starligue, it is still Descat leading the way for his team, with 47 goals, while for Paris, it's Nedim Remili (54 goals) and Mikkel Hansen (52) on top of the scorers chart. At the other end of the court, Vincent is the league's most efficient keeper, with 114 saves.
🔥 Vous l'attendiez ? Le 7️⃣ de la semaine de la 12ème journée de @LidlStarligue est en ligne !— AJPH (@AJPHandball) December 14, 2020
👀 Retrouvez quels joueurs se sont illustrés et ont été élus par leurs pairs comme étant les meilleurs à leur poste !
💥 Une #DreamTeam approuvée par @lequipe pic.twitter.com/Uar4nXhcmu
Head to head
While matches between these two clubs are always tight on the court, they are also tight in terms of the stats! Before they face each other for the thirtieth time in the Lidl StarLigue, the overall head-to-head record is rather balanced and Paris Saint-Germain Handball have 14 wins, three draws and 12 defeats. Away from home, however, it is more complicated, since Paris have only won four times in Montpellier, with two draws and eight defeats. But the trend is red and blue! Our players are on a run four consecutive successes against their direct opponent and they even managed to win the last away game, in December 2018 (24-32). At the time, Vincent and Mathieu Grébille (who will face his boyhood club for the first time) were on the opposite side of the court.
To follow the match (kick-off at 20:45):
• Television: beIN SPORTS 3
• Live tweet: our official page