Preview: Nantes - PSG Handball

On Thursday night, Paris Saint-Germain Handball return to competitive action autre a long international break. Once again, Les Rouge et Bleu travel to Nantes' Palais des Sports Beaulieu, this time looking to confirm their top-dog status in Velux EHF Champions League Group B in Round 11's French derby.

Familiar foes

At the end of December, Les Rouge et Bleu and The H faced off in their final match for 2018, with our side winning it in the very last second (29-30). In fact the whole year was peppered with clashes between the sides, who faced off no fewer than six times. They met in the Lidl Starligue, the Velux EHF Champions League and the Trophée des Champions, with each side coming out on top three times. Now they begin 2019 as they ended 2018, with another clash, this time on the European stage.

A look back at the first match

In their first European meeting this season, at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in October, the two sides duked it out as is their custom. Nikola Karabatic bagged a dramatic goal on the stroke of half-time, while Luc Abalo scored to cap a dazzling solo run. However, despite the skills on display. Raul Gonzalez's men had to wait until the final seconds, when Mikkel Hansen converted a penalty, to celebrate victory and two point that could prove crucial in the race to top the group (35-34).

Near perfect

Apart from the disappointing result against Szeged in November (33-32), Paris Saint-Germain Handball's Champions League campaign has been near perfect. Thierry Omeyer and his teammates have nine wins from ten outings and are deserved group leaders with a three-point lead over Szeged in second - as well as a head-to-head goal difference advantage. Thus they hold their destiny in their own hands in terms of topping Group B - a finish that would qualify them directly for the quarter-finals - and can do so by winning three of their remaining four fixtures.

Our key stats

Les Rouge et Bleu's success on the European stage this season is plain to see in the statistics. With 320 goals scored, Paris boast the most dangerous attack in the group as well as its second-tightest defence. The goal-keeping duo of Rodrigo Corrales and Thierry Omeyer have conceded just 269 goals. For the moment, only German club Flensburg have proven more hermetic at the back (266). In terms of individual statistics, Nedim Remili is stil our top scorer with 51 goals, just ahead of Mikkel Hansen (49) and Sander Sagosen (48).

To follow the match (Throw-off at 20:45)

• Television: beIN SPORTS 3

• Live tweet: our official page

(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)