Preview: PSG Handball - Cesson
On Thursday evening, Paris Saint-Germain Handball round out the 2018-19 season with their Round 26 Lidl Starligue fixture. Already crowned Champions of France, Paris play host to Cesson-Rennes, who need to get a result at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin to secure top-flight survival.
Backs to the wall
The visitors are playing for their Lidl Starligue survival. After a solid first half of the season, they find themselves in a very uncomfortable position heading into the final match of the season (their last win came all the way back in November, against Pontault in Round 9). In 13th place with nine points, they need to clinch a better result than Ivry (ten points), who are travelling to Istres, to have a hope of surviving. Cesson have the advantage in terms of head-to-head goal difference, having beaten the Paris region side 26-23 in the first half of the season before drawing 18-18 at Ivry's Gymnase Auguste Delaune. Thus even a draw at Coubertin would do for Cesson, as long as Ivry lose in Istres.
A look back at the first match
In Round 11, Paris Saint-Germain Handball headed to the Palais des Sports de la Valette for one of the last matches in that arena before Cesson moved to the Glaz Arena. The capital club took complete control of them match and left Brittany with a ten-goal win (19-29). Among the key stats from the match were Spanish 'keeper Rodrigo Corrales' 14 saves at 45% and Mikkel Hansen's outscoring Allan Villeminot, the Brittany club's best marksman, seven goals to six.
Party at Coubertin
Les Rouge et Bleu have been assured of clinching the French title since Round 22, so it will time to party at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin. As soon as the match is over, Raul Gonzalez and his men will lift the club's sixth French league trophy - their fifth in a row! Should Paris win the match and make it 24 victories from 26 outings (one draw, one defeat), they will reach 49 points for the season, levelling the record they set in 2012-13 - the first time they were crowned Champions of France.
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Farewells in the farewell match of the season
This match will also be the occasion to say au revoir to the three players who will be leaving the club this summer. The first is none other than Luka Stepancic. The 28-year-old right-back arrived in the capital in 2016 and has scored 149 goals in 72 league matches. German left-winger Uwe Gensheimer signed for Paris at the same time as Stepancic and has since traumatised many Lidl Starligue defences on his way to being voted the best in his position in 2017 and 2019. In three seasons, he has played 70 matches and scored an incredible 389 goals. Last but certainly not least, our captain, Thierry Omeyer, a quintuple Champion of France with Paris, will call time on his extraordinary career at the ripe old age of 42. Doubtless the fans at Coubertin will give him the farewell that he deserves.
🔴🔵 Dernier match de la saison à Coubertin pour le @psghand et dernier match de l'immense carrière de @Thierry_Omeyer 🔴🔵— PSG Matchday (@PSGMatchday) June 3, 2019
📅 Jeudi 6 Juin 2019
📍 Stade Pierre de Coubertin
🎟 Derniers Sésames ➡ https://t.co/cmveZZoZsd#PSGCES #MerciTiti pic.twitter.com/bJaTRrIRs3
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)