Preview: Montpellier - PSG Handball
On Sunday evening Paris Saint-Germain Handball once again put their Coupe de France title on the line, travelling to Montpellier for an intriguing quarter-final match-up.
The rivalry between Paris and Montpellier is not limited to the Coupe de France: since the Lidl StarLigue's Round 17 in midweek, Montpellier have been Paris' closest rivals in the race for the league title. Indeed, MHB made the most of Nantes' 35-29 loss to Paris and leapfrogged them into second place, four points behind the leaders. After this quarter-final, the two sides will face off one final time for the season - in Lidl StarLigue Round 21 action at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin on 20 April.
Road to the quarters
Paris and Montpellier both entered the competition at the last-32 stage in mid-December, and both have won through to the quarters in style. Patrice Canayer's men dispatched Limoges (25-28) and Istres (23-30), while Raul Gonzalez's men faced Dijon (25-29) and Tremblay (32-34). So, in order to retain our title, Paris will need to see off the challenge of Montpellier. The round's' other matches are: Dunkerque-Aix, Nancy-Saran and Chambéry-Nantes.
Key stats: Coupe de France
Montpellier have a slight advantage in terms of stats - a +10 goal difference compared to Paris' +6. If we drill down further, we see that Les Rouge et Bleu have conceded more goals in the first two rounds (57 compared to MHB's 48), but they have also scored more (63 to 58). In individual terms, Montpellier' top scorer in the competition is France international Melvyn Richardson, with nine goals, while for the capital club, Nedim Remili and Mikkel Hansen are leading the way with 11 goals apiece.
A look back at the league match
In early December, Paris Saint-Germain Handball headed to the Sud de France Arena to play their rescheduled Lidl StarLigue Round 7 fixture. In a no-nonsense performance, the capital club made the difference late in the first half, thanks notably to an excellent Thierry Omeyer (30’: 13-20), who ended the match with 14 saves. Despite Montpellier's pushing back in the second term, our lads controlled matters until the final buzzer and took two points back to the capital with them (24-32). In scoring terms, it was Nedim who shone the brightest, striking nine times.
To follow the match (throw-off at 19:40)
• Television: La Chaine L'Equipe
• Live tweet: our official page