The best of the week

Hansen_JO_Pillaud

19 December 2016

Every monday, we bring you everything you need to know and see from the handball news, in France and around the world.

The player : Mikkel Hansen (PSG, Denmark)

The Danish team’s star had a particularly great year in 2016, culminating in the gold medal and the MVP award at the Olympic Games in Rio. And the best player in the world seems ready to pursue that momentum in 2017. Less than one month away from the major milestone of the World Championship in France, Hansen is getting better and better. This could be noticed last week with PSG. The Dane first was the spearhead of the Parisian team in the Lidl Starligue derby against Créteil on tuesday (PSG won 39-32), scoring seven goals. This saturday in Saint-Gratien, in the French Cup round of 32, “Mikki” delivered a very efficient performance (5 goals on a 100% shot conversion rate), and made the right playmaking choice to definitively dampen the second division side’s hopes in the second half (Paris finally won 38-29). Those of Danemark’s future opponents in the group D who have watched those two games can start to worry : the boss seems in great shape…

The number : 1

Like the first ever HBC Nantes’ win in Montpellier, obtained on thursday in Lidl Starligue (26-25). In this highly intense and disputed game, Nantes was able to rely on six goals from the Bosnian international Senjamin Buric, on fourteen saves from the French international keeper Cyril Dumoulin, and on a decisive shot from other French international Nicolas Claire, 20 seconds before the end, to grab this hard fought victory. Thanks to this win, the “H” consolidated its second place, three points behind PSG, which happens to be Nantes’ next opponent (see elsewhere).

The feat : Billère, the specialist

A few weeks after their stunning win over a Lidl Starligue side, in this case Chambéry, in League Cup, Billère did it again in the French Cup ! The Bearnese side, which is currently ranked fifth in the Proligue (the French second division), thus caused the big upset of the round of 32, crushing Saran (34-24) in the white-hot atmosphere of Sporting d’Este. Argentinian international Leonardo Querin and his teammates showed their huge collective strength, as thirteen different Billère players scored at least one goal in this game. The players of Pays d’Aix, which will be Billère’s opponent in the round of 16, are warned : they must prepare to face some true feat specialists.

The schedule : Decisive top match in Hall XXL

The first half of the Lidl Starligue season is ending on the coming week, with a huge contest between the leader and its nearest challenger. Both impressive since the start of the season, Nantes and PSG will sort of battle each other for the national supremacy on thursday 22, even if Paris will stay on top whatever the result of the game. In any case, this enticing contest will be like a last full-scale rehearsal at the Hall XXL, which will host the games of group A during the World Championship.

The play : Camilla Herrem (Norway)

This week, we wink at the Women’s European Championship in Sweden, which just ended with Norway’s win over the Netherlands in the final (30-29). The most beautiful play of the game surely went from Norwegian left back Camilla Herrem. After a good passing from her back court teammates inside the Dutch defense, Herrem is given the ball and then finely finishes, with an unstoppable « roucoulette ». Just sublime.

At 0’15 :