Five things on PSG Handball - Celje
Paris Saint-Germain Handball' objective is clear: to qualify for the quarterfinals of the EHF Champions League. For that, they will have to back up the large victory they claimed in Slovenia last week (24-37) as they play host to Celje at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin this Thursday evening.
1 - A look back at the first leg
Last Thursday, the Parisians went to Slovenia to play the first leg of their round of 16 tie. Raul Gonzalez's men controlled the game perfectly, taking an early lead (7': 3-7) and never letting it go. At the break, they had already taken a significant advantage (30': 24-37). But, aware that in this competition anything can happen, they worked hard to further increase their lead in the final 30 minutes (11-21), and thus put themselves in a more comfortable position before the return leg at Coubertin.
2 - Quarters berth up for grabs
Les Rouge et Bleu are thus in a very favourable position to punch their ticket for the Champions League quarters. In order for our team to fail to make it to the next round, they would have to lose by at least 14 goals, or 13, provided that the Slovenians score more than 37. In case of a tied aggregate score, the match will go to extra-time. Meanwhile, any other result will qualify the capital club for the quarters - a stage of the competition they have reached every time since the 2013-2014 edition. Their only elimination in the round of 16 dates back to 2006, with a defeat against Kiel - whom, coincidentally, Paris could well face in the quarters should they make it past Celje (Kiel defeated Szeged 28-33 in the first leg in Hungary).
3 - Attacking threats
Despite the Parisians' strong defensive form (see below), two Celje players were particularly effective in attack: Ziga Mlakar and Arsenije Dragasevic, who finished the game with six goals each (from ten attempts). The former is his side's top scorer in the competition with 45 goals. The 30-year-old Slovenian international is one of the most experienced players in a squad with an average age of 22. Meanwhile Dragasevic is only 18 and has already scored 18 times in his first Champions League campaign.
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4 - Solid, efficient
Les Rouge et Bleus' very good performance in Slovenia was also reflected in the stats. Defensively, Vincent Gérard was at his best, stopping 13 of 37 opposition attempts. He finished the game with 37% of saves, including one that was named among the Top Stops of the week. Moreover, only 50% of the Slovenian side's shots ended in a goal (24 out of 48). At the other end of the court, Dylan Nahi continued his rise to prominence by scoring ten times - often spectacularly - notably with sublime spin-shot that was named among the five best goals of the first legs. Dylan was also nominated best left-winger of the round.
5 - To follow the match (kick-off at 20:45):
• Television: Eurosport Player
• At the Stade Pierre de Coubertin: behind closed doors
• Live tweet: our official page
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)