Five things on PSG Handball - Saint-Raphaël
On Sunday afternoon, Paris Saint-Germain Handball return to the Stade Pierre de Coubertin after consecutive away games. On the occasion Lidl StarLigue Round 28, they will play host to Saint-Raphaël.
1 - The table
Since the beginning of the season, Saint-Raphaël have been running hot and cold. So much so that with 27 games board, they have won eleven times, with twelve defeats and four draws. They have, however, managed some good performances, such as the victory over Aix (26-28) and their triumph over Nantes last week (27-32). Nonetheless, apart from two one-goal victories against the two teams in the red zone, Tremblay (27-26) and Ivry (29-28), Saint-Raphaël have conceded five defeats in one month and are in danger of slipping down the table. Les Rouge et Bleu, meanwhile, are still leaders with 25 wins in 27 games. They could be crowned French Champions - if they win on Sunday, and if Montpellier fail to beat PAUC on Saturday afternoon.
2 - Familiar faces
Despite sitting in eighth place, Dan Rares Fortuneanu's team have several quality players. In addition to former Parisians Xavier Barachet and Fahrudin Melic (who won the title several times with the capital club), we find the LSL's all-time top scorer: Raphael Caucheteux. The 36-year-old left winger became the first player to reach the 2000-goal mark in Lidl StarLigue and now has 2015 league strikes to his name. The French international is capable of making the difference on his own, with performances like his personal-best 17-goal haul in a game against Saran in 2017. Fortunately for us, the 'keeper facing him will be the French handball elite's all-time saves leader: Vincent Gérard. Our last bastion, with 3,285 saves, is just ahead of his teammate, Yann Genty and his 3142 blocked shots.
3 - Head to head
Last October, Les Rouge et Bleu went to the Palais Des Sports J-F. Krakowski for the first meeting between the sides this season. They dominated and won in style, thanks to seven goals each for Kamil Syprzak and Nedim Remili, but also to 13 saves from Vincent. It was Paris Saint-Germain Handball's 18th victory in the fixture they have lost just eight times. At the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, Paris also dominate the head-to-head record, with ten wins and three losses. Sunday's game will be the 25th Lidl Starligue clash between the sides. Note that the Parisians are on a run of two positive results against SRVHB and that their last defeat dates back to May 12, 2019 (33-31), when they had just been officially crowned French Champions. That match was also Paris's last league defeat until they fell to Nantes in April of this year.
4 - Key stats
Saint-Raphaël are one of the teams to have conceded more goals (782) than they have scored (766). However, their brilliant individuals could allow them to stay in the black. Indeed, Caucheteux always scores buckets of goals and is currently the second-top scorer in the league with 181 goals, while Alexandre Demaille sits sixth on the saves chart, with 225 stops. Our team have shown a great collective solidity and boast the division's best attack (893 goals), but also the second-most effective defence (678). Note that this week in Chambéry (32-32), our top scorer Nedim Remili reached the 500-goal mark with Paris!
5 - To follow the game (kick-off at 17:00)
• Television: beIN SPORTS 2
• Live tweet: our official page
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)