Preview: Ivry - PSG Handball
On Wednesday evening, Paris Saint-Germain Handball travel to Ivry for their Lidl StarLigue Round 7 derby - a clash that promises to be one of the most exciting of the early season.
A good start to the season
After stuttering against Nîmes (26-32) and Dunkirk (26-22), Ivry have recovered well in the championship. They are now unbeaten in four, a run that included three consecutive wins: away to Saint-Raphaël field (28-31) with a 6 from 6 from captain Mathieu Bataille in Round 4; at home to Chambéry at the Gymnasium Auguste Delaune (28-24) - with after 16 saves from Mate Sunjic; and, last week, away to Tremblay in another derby (23-31). After beating the drop with a ten-pint haul last season, they already have seven to their name in the 2019-20 campaign - a return that has them in fifth place.
On Sunday, against Celje (27-18), Les Rouge et Bleu were up against a very young team with an average age of 20 years. On Wednesday, it will be more of the same, as the average age in the Ivry squad is 26. While there are some old heads in the Val-de-Marne club's squad - notably the elder of the Bataille brothers, Mate Sunjic and Cuban international Yoël Cuni (all 32 years old) - there is a gaggle of young talents who have already proven their worth in French handball's elite. Notably they have Adama's older brother, Mahamadou Keita (24 years old), Walid Badi (24), Léo Martinez (25) and Axel Cochery (20), son of former Paris Saint-Germain Handball coach Nicolas. Sébastien Quintallet's squad includes four players from the France U21 team (Cochery, Keita, Antonin Mohamed and Adama Sako).
A look back at recent matches
Paris have historically enjoyed plenty of success making the trip to neighbours Ivry, racking up eight wins, one draw and four defeats. They are undefeated at the Delaune since April 28, 2012, when Nicolas Claire's four goals and Patrice Annonay's nine saves were not enough to save the capital club (32-26). In their last meeting, on 3 April, Raul Gonzalez's men were clear winners (24-37). The match was also notable for Luc Abalo's 6 from 6 but more so for the fact that it was the night that Sadou N'tanzi took his first steps in the Lidl StarLigue. The young Parisian centre-half did very well, finishing the match with two goals from two shots. In terms of overall head-to-head record, our team have won 20 times over Ivry, lost four times and drawn twice.
Our key stats
The good season of both teams is reflected in the stats. But, while Paris Saint-Germain Handball have distinguished themselves in (a league-high 200 goals), the hosts have stood out in defence (the fourth-best rear-guard in the Lidl StarLigue, with 156 goals conceded). Thus it is no surprise to find some of their best players in this sector: Mate Sunjic, the league's second-most effective 'keeper with 66 saves (Vincent Gérard is fourth with 52). At he other end of the court, Benjamin Bataille (33 goals) and Nedim Remili (30) are on the top of the clubs' respective scoring chart while, finally, Nikola Karabatic is only one strike shy of racking up his 800th Lidl StarLigue goal.
To follow the match (kick-off at 20:30 CET)
- Television: beIN SPORTS Max 6
- Live tweet: our official page
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)