Preview: PSG Handball - Toulouse

Four days after their European win over Nantes (35-34), Paris Saint-Germain Handball return to Lidl StarLigue action at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin. Their Round 6 six opponents are Toulouse, who haven't had the best of starts to their league campaign.

Rough start
Le Fenix are one of three teams (along with Pontault and Istres) who remain winless after five rounds of the Lidl StarLigue season. They have gone close on a couple of occasions, notably away to Cesson-Rennes, where Jean-Jacques Acquevillo levelled 32 seconds from time before Yassine Idrissi saved them at the death (29-29). Apart from that, they have tasted only defeat, and this is reflected in their sitting second-from-bottom on the defensive table (155 goals conceded). As they get set to travel to Paris, Toulouse sit in 12th place, just one point clear of the drop zone.


A question of cutting edge
Philippe Gardent's men were powerful in attack last season, ending the campaign in third place on the attacking table with 777 goals scored. However, things are much tougher up front for the former France coach's side this season, with just 141 strikes - just the eighth-best record in the competition. It could be argued that the club is still looking for a way to compensate for the departure of 29-year-old Swedish pivot Fedric Petterson, the 2m02 pivot having scored 85 times for Toulouse last season before switching to European champions Montpellier ion the summer.


Ilic: still the danger man
But Le Fenix shouldn't panic - Nemanja Ilic is still there. For several years now, the Serbian left-winger has top scored for the club each season, and in 2018-19 he looks set to do the same once again, with 32 strikes at 82% so far this campaign. Only Fahrudin Melic (the same total but at 84%) and Raphaël Caucheteux (40) are doing better. Ilic has hit the bar of ten goals in two matches so far, firing and 11 from 13 against Montpellier (29-34) and a 10 fro m11 against Tremblay (31-36).


Our key stats
After five rounds, Paris Saint-Germain Handball sit in third place in the Lidl StarLigue, just one point adrift from the leading pair of Nantes and Chambéry. They still boast the competition's most prolific attack (167 goals), but also the fourth-best defence (127 goals conceded). In individual terms, Thierry Omeyer sits fourth on the saves table (47), thanks in part to a 16-save haul against Pontault. Up front, Nedim Remili is our top scorer, with 26 strikes.


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

(Credits : J. Azouze/PSG)