Geipel/Helbig: They handled the pressure in Reno. Can they handle the PSG-Barca showdown?
ehfTV’s designated “Match of the Week” has two well known European soccer sides (Barcelona FCB and Paris St-Germain) meeting for the first time in EHF Champions League play. Barca, of course, has also long been a handball power as well, but Paris St-Germain has only recently teamed up with Paris Handball. And not only teaming up, but providing through their new Qatari owners an influx of cash and player signings to reportedly making it the highest player payroll team in Europe. PSG, however, has stumbled a bit in CL playing, losing and drawing in Skopje to Metalurg and Vardar, respectively. Barca also drew against Vardar in Skopje, but they are on top of Group C, thanks to their convincing wins at home against Wacker Thun and Metalurg.
A side note for U.S. fans watching the match: The German referees assigned for the match, Lars Geipel and Marcus Helbig, were the same International officials on hand earlier this year in Reno, Nevada for the USA National Championships. During the tournament I interviewed both officials and discussed their perspective on the quality of the American sides as compared to German clubs and their experiences in Reno. The interview is a short 5 minutes and can be accessed at the bottom of this post.
Paris St-Germain vs. Barca (Sunday, 20 Oct 1700 CET/1100 U.S. Eastern Time)
If you can’t catch the match live it will also be available later “on demand”. Further, U.S. residents with beIN Sport can also catch a retransmission on Sunday at 1800 (Eastern Time). (Thanks, beIN Sport, for not making me wait until Wednesday!)
The other big match this weekend will be a Group B showdown between Poland’s Kielce and Germany’s Kiel. Last year both sides made it to the Final Four with Kielce beating Kiel, 31-30 for 3rd place. This year both side are undefeated and Group B and it won’t be surprising if the two matches between these sides decides who gets 1-2 in the Group.
Kielce vs Kiel (Saturday, 19 Oct 1815 CET/1215 U.S. Eastern Time)
On paper, the other matches this weekend are of less interest, featuring either mismatches or battles for 3rd place on the table. That being said, mismatches on paper sometimes end up being far more interesting in real life. The times and links are easily accessible at the ehfTV web page.
(Note: I will replace the live video links with on demand video links when they are available at the ehfTV website. If you go to the ehf website yourself click on the side arrows to get to the “Full Match” page. A word of caution, however, the EHF sometimes posts match interviews with revealing titles like “Jicha scores the decisive goal,” so you might want to use a sheet of paper to mask the screen if you want to watch the matches oblivious to the outcome.)
ehfTV Page: Link
EHF Week 4 Preview: Link (A written summary by Bjoern Pazen previewing all 12 matches)
Tom Ó Brannagáin’s latest blog post: Link