Five things on PSG Handball - Istres
Barely 48 hours after their victory in Dunkerque (22-30), Paris Saint-Germain Handball are already back in the warm-up gear! On Tuesday evening, at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, they will play host Istres in their rescheduled Lidl StarLigue Round 11 clash.
1 - The table
With 19 matches played and 19 wins, Les Rouge et Bleu are at the top of the Lidl StarLigue standings with a two-points lead over Montpellier (with a game in hand). Against Dunkerque, Paris continued their perfect start to the season, equalling Montpellier's record. A win against Istres would make them outright holders of the record with 20 victories in a row. Almost at the opposite of the table, we find Istres with 11 points from 17 games - just three points clear of the relegation zone and in real danger of dropping down should their pursuers win their late-season fixtures.
👀 On jette un coup d'oeil au classement avec de clore le chapitre de cette J22 ! pic.twitter.com/QgvGllin0c— Lidl Starligue (@LidlStarligue) April 11, 2021
2 - Key stats
The gap in the ranking is reflected in the numbers, especially in terms of attack. The capital club have the best attack in Lidl StarLigue with 657 goals scored in 19 appearances - better than Montpellier (second in this field) with its 631 units - despite still having a game in hand. Istres have a harder time scoring goals - despite the efforts of club top scorer, Rasmus Nielsen (66 goals) - and have scored just 433 times in 17 matches. Only Ivry are doing worse (387 in 15 matches). On the other hand, the numbers are more balanced when it comes to defence. Paris have the most miserly average of goals conceded per game with 25.42 (483 in total), just ahead of Nantes (25.56), while Istres have only conceded 489 goals thanks to a solid backline that features former Paris Saint-Germain Handball youth academy 'keeper Clément Gaudin, who made nine saves when the sides met at the end of February.
3 - Milestones loom
Individually speaking, several of our players could reach a milestone in their Lidl StarLigue career on Tuesday. Among them, Mikkel Hansen (81 goals this season) will play his 200th match in France, while Elohim Prandi is only one goal away from 400 goals in our league (71 with Paris). Henrik Toft Hansen and Dylan Nahi will reach 100 goals should they score eight and nine times respectively. Our goalkeepers will also have an opportunity to shine! With 99 saves so far this season, Yann Genty is just one save away from 100 stops for Les Rouge et Bleu. Finally, Vincent Gérard is just two stops shy of making 200 penalty saves in the Lidl Starligue. As a reminder, against USDK, Luka Karabatic scored his 300th goal in the championship with Paris.
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4 - Head to head
Istres are an opponent against whom Paris Saint-Germain Handball have quite a positive record: 14 wins, three draws and three defeats. Our team once scored 44 goals (including nine by Mikky) against Istres at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, in March 2019 (44-29), and also hit 41 in February 2015 (41-20) thanks in part to 17 saves from Thierry Omeyer, who had just been crowned World Champion with Les Experts. Since a 28-28 draw in the South of France on 27 March 2011, Les Rouge et Bleu have won all eight of the league meetings between the clubs.
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)