Preview: Celje - PSG Handball

Back to the Velux EHF Champions League! On Sunday afternoon, Paris Saint-Germain Handball will travel to Slovenia to take on Celje for Matchday 11. More than ever, victory is important - for different reasons - for both teams in this final phase of the season.

Ranking point
The objectives will be different for the two sides. Currently third in Group A, one point behind Szeged (who play host to Aalborg) and two points behind Barcelona (who travel to Elverum), Les Rouge et Bleu will need a positive result to get back on top. With a 13-point lead over the drop zone, they are already assured of a place in the Round of 16. But this is not yet the case for Celje: three points separate them from the qualifying places occupied by Elverum and Zagreb. A defeat - combined with a good result for their two rivals - could put them in a tricky position.

A young, high-quality squad
The Slovenians, who have not progressed from the group stage since the 2013-14 campaign, are on the verge of doing so this time around thanks to the strength in depth of their squad. Croatian left-winger Josip Sarac, 21, has scored 50 goals so far this season, proving a thorn in Zagreb's side with a ten-goal haul (27-31) in a very important qualifying match. A week earlier, he had been unable to prevent defeat despite bagging seven goals in a thriller against Szeged (31-24). But the danger could also come from Gal Marguc (20 goals) who, at 24 years of age, is almost a veteran in a squad where the average age is 22.

A look back at the first match
Last October, Paris Saint-Germain Handball hosted Celje at its Stade Pierre de Coubertin. The game was not rich in goals, with the defenders clearly overwhelming the attackers at the start of the match (10': 2-2). While the visitors continued to struggle up front, the capital club's front line hit their stride and finally swung it Paris' way. Nedim Remili's six goals from nine attempts were crucial in clinching a 51st consecutive home match without defeat (27-18).

Key stats
Sunday's duel will pit one of the best attacking lines against one of the leakiest rear-guards in the competition. With 314 goals scored since the start of the season (39 of them by Sander Sagosen), the Parisian attack is the second-highest scoring team in Group A. Conversely, the Slovenians have the second-most porous defence in the group (302 times in ten games, 277 for Paris). Finally, Sarac's 50 goals have earned him a place in the top five of the Champions League's scorers' chart.

To follow the game (kick-off at 5pm)
- Television: beIN SPORTS 3
- Live tweet: our official page

(Credits: TeamPics/PSG)