Preview: Celje - PSG Handball
On Sunday evening, Paris Saint-Germain Handball make their final Velux EHF Champions League group phase trip, heading to Celje for their Round 13 clash, looking to stitch up top spot in the group - and direct qualification for the quarters.
Potentially decisive for both sides
The final round of the group stage, next weekend, could be a dead rubber for both sides. Currently in the relegation zone and trailing Zaporozhye by two points with a -4 head-to-head goal difference disadvantage vis-à-vis the Ukrainians, Celje (who are coming off consecutive one-goal losses) are obliged to take at least a point - while also needing Motor to falter against Skjern. On the other hand, since Szeged's defeat in Nantes (29-26), Les Rouge et Bleu have been assured of top spot in the group, and direct qualification for the quarters.
Paris Saint-Germain Handball old boy
However, the task will be no easy one for Paris as they travel to face a side whose strong home form has seen them beat Flensburg (23-20) and Zagreb (30-21), draw with Nantes (29-29) and push Szeged until the final seconds (28-29). What's more, since October, the Slovenian side have benefited from the services of William Accambray, who signed from Veszprém on loan. The former Parisian, who won the French title three times with the capital club, has scored 26 European goals this season with his new side (including eight times against Szeged). He is only 21 behind the Blue and Yellow's top scorer Branko Vujovic. Celje also have another France international among their ranks: 32-year-old pivot Igor Anic.
A look back at the first match
In late September, in their first Velux EHF Champions League match at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, Paris Saint-Germain Handball turned in an excellent performance against Celje. Pour players all proved immensely efficient, with Rodrigo Corrales winning 44% of his duels (7 from 9) while Luc Abalo was ice-cold with 5 from 5. Raul Gonzalez's men quickly took the lead (18’ 11-7) and never let it slip (33-21), tightening their grip on top
Our key stats
With 22 points, our side still boast the competition's highest points tally. In the attacking domain, they have the second-most dangerous front line, with 388 goals scored heading into Round 13. Only Barcelona (420 goals) have done better so far. In defence, the numbers are also strong, with our goalkeeping duo of Thierry Omeyer and Rodrigo Corrales leading the third-stringiest defence in the higher groups (328 goals conceded)/ In individual terms, Mikki is our top scorer with 62 goals, ahead of Nedim Remili (59) and Uwe Gensheimer (57).
To follow the match (Throw-off at 17:00)
• Television: beIN SPORTS 3
• Live tweet: our official page
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)