Preview: 5 things about Montpellier - Paris

League leaders Paris Saint-Germain Handball travel to Montpellier's Sud de France Arena on Sunday in a clash with third-placed Montpellier. Find out all you need to know about the Liqui Moly StarLigue Round 18's headline clash.


Les Rouge et Bleu have looked unstoppable since returning to official competition at the start of February. In the five matches played in 2024, Paris have won every time - by a margin of at least six goals. Raul Gonzalez's men are still unbeaten in the Liqui Moly StarLigue after 17 games, and will be looking to continue that run in Montpellier to build further confidence ahead of a tricky trip to Zagreb next Thursday on the penultimate matchday of the EHF Champions League group stage.

Patrice Canayer's men lost back-to-back games to Toulouse (33-29) and Nantes (31-30) to close out 2023, a run that left them seven points adrift of the capital club. However, the Hérault-region outfit found their rhythm again at the start of 2024, with assured league wins over Ivry (35-29) and Dijon (28-32). They also won their quarter-final against Dunkerque (36-26) in the Coupe de France, a competition in which they will host Les Rouge et Bleu again in March for a place in the final.


Despite struggling away from home with three defeats in nine away games in the Liqui Moly StarLigue, the Hérault outfit have been impregnable at home for more than a year and a half. Montpellier's last defeat at home in the league came on 18 September 2022 against Nantes (29-30). Beaten on their last two trips to the Hérault (one in the Coupe de France semi-final, the other in the league), the capital club will be looking to break Patrice Cannayer's side's 22-match unbeaten run at home.


Andreas Palicka, who has been imperious this season, has managed to lift his game even higher since the start of the season. His sensational performance against Kielce (19 saves) earned him a double award. Along with Jannick Green, the Swedish keeper forms one of the best duos in our league. On Sunday, our Parisians will be up against another exceptional rearguard: Rémi Desbonnet and Charles Bolzinger. It will be interesting to watch this match within a match between two of the best defences in the French league.

With 144 saves in the first 17 games, Rémi Desbonnet is sixth in the league and could well thwart Raul Gonzalez's men. The recent winner of Euro 2024 - alongside Nikola Karabatic, Luka Karabatic and Elohim Prandi - Desbonnet is also the spearhead of MHB's attacks, topping the goal involvement chart for 'keepers with an incredible 17 assists. So the Parisians have been warned, and they will need to redouble their intensity if they are to topple one of the best defences in the league and maintain their unbeaten home record.


A veritable classic of the French championship, the meeting between the Hérault side and the Parisians is without doubt one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures of the season, and it often yields great spectacles. Over the course of its history, the capital club has faced Montpellier 36 times in the Liqui Moly StarLigue, winning 20 and drawing three. In the reverse fixture at Coubertin earlier in the season, Ruben Marchan put in his best performance in a Rouge et Bleu shirt, scoring eight goals to help Les Rouge et Bleu extend their lead at the top of the league with a 31-27 win.


Throw-off: 17:00

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(Credits: L. Valroff/Team Pics/PSG)