Preview: PSG Handball - Nantes
In the Lidl StarLigue's Round 2, Les Rouge et Bleu are already up against a serious challenger for their French league title.
Several new faces
Fourth last time around, The H did not necessarily have the season they had hoped for, a total of six defeats damaging their aspirations. But several changes were made in the Loire-Atlantique over the summer, with emblematic hometown coach Thierry Anti moving to Portuguese side Sporting and former assistant, Alberto Enterrios, taking the senior-team reins. Several senior players, notably Romain Lagarde (Rhein Neckar-Löwen), Arnaud Siffert (retired), Romaric Guillo (Kielce) and Nicolas Claire (Aix-en-Provence), all left. To compensate for these losses, the Loire-valley club's staff worked well behind the scenes and brought in Aymeric Minne (Aix), Emil Nielsen (Skjern) and Senjamin Buric (Zagreb), not to mention former Parisian Antonio Garcia.
Two successful starts
A lone figure in the Nantes goal - Cyril Dumoulin is still recovering from injury -when Dunkerque came calling on Thursday, Emil Nielsen made a stunning start to the league season. After shining brightly for Skjern against Les Rouge et Bleu in the Chapions League last season, the Danish 'keeper kept up the good work and played a key role in his side's 29-24 win, making 15 saves at 39%. Meanwhile, Paris set about defending their Lidl StarLigue title away to Istres and won in style 25-35 thanks to their Danish duo of Mikkel Hansen (five goals) and Henrik Toft Hansen (4 from 4).
Déjà un prétendant pour le titre de meilleur gardien de la saison ? 😏 pic.twitter.com/bz26Bg5iKa— Lidl Starligue (@LidlStarligue) September 7, 2019
The return to Coubertin
Three days after their last home game, Raul Gonzalez's men are back in their lair. A great opportunity for our players and their supporters to celebrate the first title of the season, won at the beginning of September, in Limoges, against Montpellier (34-27), but also to welcome some new faces. Indeed, Vincent Gérard (MHB), Gudjon Sigurdsson (Rhein Neckar-Löwen) and Kamil Syprazk will for the first time step on the court of the Stade Pierre de Coubertin, for an official match as players of the Paris Saint-Germain Handball.
🔴🔵 Premier match de la saison à Coubertin pour le @psghand 🔴🔵— PSG Fan Services (@PSGFanServices) September 6, 2019
📅 Mercredi 11 Septembre
📍 Stade Pierre de Coubertin
🎟 Derniers sésames ➡ https://t.co/gdow4FPMNa
📸 Club House ouvert au public#PSGHBCN pic.twitter.com/sxw6MvTJFU
Last season, the two teams played each other six times across the Lidl StarLigue, the Velux EHF Champions League and the Coupe de la Ligue. The capital club coming out on top with five wins across the board and just one defeat, which dates back to September 2018, when Nantes won out in penalty shoot-out in the Coupe de la Ligue's third-place play-off in Montbéliard. The Lidl StarLigue encounters between the sides were particularly spectacular. This was the case in the first-leg match at Halle XXL in Beaujoire, where Mikkel Hansen clinched victory on the buzzer (29-30). In the head-to-head record, Paris lead with 11 wins, seven losses and two draws.
To follow the match (throw-off at 20:45)
(Credits: J. Azouze/PSG)