Held in check at home on Wednesday, PSG Handball will have to perform a major performance in Kiel in a week, to hope to join the Final Four.
The truth of the weekend is not always that of the week. Especially when it comes to PSG Handball, whose national hegemony is slow to translate to the continental scene. Crowned French champion for the eighth consecutive year on Thursday, the capital club was much more worried by the still formidable Kiel team in the quarter-final first leg of the Champions League on Wednesday (30-30). Delayed by a quarter of an hour by the fall of an ultra supporter on two photographers, the meeting began with a 7-meter throw from Kamil Syprzak. The only vestige of a Parisian domination, in a match where PSG spent its time chasing after the score.
Defeated by the impeccable Niklas Landin in the German cages, the premises were quickly led 1-5 (6and). “We missed that small percentage of success. Everything smiled at them but we didn’t give up“, will agree after the meeting Nikola Karabatic (2 goals Wednesday). Self-sacrifice paid off at the end thanks to a final achievement by Ile-de-France player Benoît Kounkoud (2 goals) to snatch a draw.
A result that almost sounds like a godsend for PSG. The French champion would also like history to repeat itself, when he had been held in check by the same score (30-30) during the first round of the previous round. However, it was the more modest club of Elverum (Norway), while the return match took place in front of its public of Coubertin (37-30).
Full to the brim, the Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin played its role as the eighth man wonderfully on Wednesday evening. “The room was huge tonight, the 4,000 people played the game and it really helped us to play our best“, greets Nedim Remili, top scorer of the meeting (8 goals). Boosted for his last C1 match at home in Paris (he will join Kielce next year), the French international performed a recital in the second half, haranguing the crowd a little more each time he cleaned the corners of the cages German.
Coming in (large) numbers, the Parisian Ultras gave voice to warm a little more a room already at the limit of asphyxiation. “Make the capital shineprompted the kop on a banner deployed in echo of the failure of football players, neglected for several weeks by their most intense supporters. And it was the handball players who took advantage of it. “Like you, we’re never gonna let go“Launched the kop spokesperson, megaphone in hand, to the line of PSG Handball players gathered in front of kop at the final whistle.
They will be less present in a week, for the return match in Kiel on Thursday. In northern Germany, it’s a new electric atmosphere that should push the “Zebras” to find the Final Four. Eliminated at this same stage of the quarter-finals by PSG last year, in an opposite configuration (the Parisians had overthrown Kiel in the return match at Coubertin), the 2020 European champions hope to find the Final Four in Cologne next June. .
One thing is certain, it’s a new constant fight that awaits the two teams. Marked in particular by nine temporary exclusions (2 minutes), this first battle calls for another. “It’s a quarter-final of the Champions League, everything is violent and complicated“, justified Remili in the mixed zone.
Before finding him after the meeting, once the pressure subsided, the Parisian had crossed swords with his former partner Sander Sagosen, copiously whistled at the announcement of the teams. “It was very intense. These are the kind of matches you train hard for, it was really funenthused the Norwegian, his team’s top scorer (6 goals). Failed by the Parisian wall on his last attempt, when the siren had already sounded, Sagosen will also have the opportunity to take his revenge at home.