|23.03.2017, 16:19||◄ last page|
LAST 16 PREVIEW: PSG take on Nantes in an exciting all-French Last 16 tie which is the ehfTV.com Match of the Week
PSG in danger at Nantes
At this stage of the competition last season, Group C winners HC Meshkov Brest and Group D winners Motor Zaporozhye were easily disposed of by Kielce and Veszprem, respectively.
However, this year, the all-French clash between the winner of Group D and the second place team from Group A looks like a much more open affair.
Last 16, first leg
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA)
For the first time in history, ehfTV.com’s Match of the Week heads to Nantes. Indeed, this is the first time the club has taken part in the competition.
With only one loss in twelve games (in the first phase against Zaporozhye), and on the back of twenty consecutive wins throughout all competitions, Nantes look like a strong contender for the win in this first leg.
“They are on a big wave of confidence right now,” agreed Daniel Narcisse, PSG left back, after the last group phase game.
“But we are coming back at full speed just when we need to. Nantes is one of our toughest opponents in France, I don't expect anything else in the Champions League.”
In fact, Nantes is one of the only four teams that has previously beat PSG, alongside THW Kiel, FC Barcelona Lassa and Montpellier HB, three former Champions League winners. In December, in a boiling XXL Arena, Thierry Anti's men made PSG look inexperienced. The 37-31 was a major handball events in the country, but Nantes' coach still doesn't think his team is the clear favourites.
“That evening, we had a perfect game. We might do it again, who knows, but for us to do it twice in a week is something else entirely. We'll throw ourselves 100% into the first game and see what happens, we've got nothing to lose,” he says.
It seems almost impossible to win in Nantes- they only lost once at home since the beginning of 2016.
PSG on the other hand, have been struggling sometimes in away games this season in the Champions League. Losses in Kiel and Barcelona and narrow wins in Flensburg and Veszprem don't make for an impressive record.
“Somehow, facing Nantes is a good thing for us. We know they can beat us, they've done it not so long ago, and it will force us to be 100% focused,” concludes Luc Abalo, right wing for PSG.
PSG are in danger in Nantes, and they know it.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / kc