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14.02.2014, 10:43
European champions meet again, with different jerseys
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NEWS REPORT: There will be plenty of familiar faces at the Palau Blaugrana on Saturday, but there will be no mercy shown between friends on opposing sides
 

European champions meet again, with different jerseys

On Saturday, the Palau Blaugrana will witness one of the biggest gatherings of handball stars for a long time. Combining the two teams that will face each other, PSG and FC Barcelona, 21 players were at the EHF EURO 2014 last month.

Among all of these talented players, you will find five French players, two on Barcelona's side, three playing for PSG, who celebrated the EHF EURO title in Denmark three weeks ago with the same jersey on their shoulders. But now, they face each other.

In the FC Barcelona camp, you will find Nikola Karabatic and Cedric Sorhaindo, who promise they will show no mercy for their friends.

“Of course, when you play against such good friends, it's always special. Three weeks ago, we were still playing together, but don't worry, I'll know who to give the ball to on Saturday,” said Sorhaindo.

In a sold-out Palau Blaugrana, for the first time this season, FC Barcelona have only one goal in focus:  to remain undefeated.

“It's very important to show everybody what we're up to, and beating this PSG team twice in the group phase would send a message to every team taking part in this Champions League,” said the 29-year-old line player.

In the other camp, Luc Abalo is really looking forward to this game: “It's always nice to see familiar faces in the other team. I've played in Spain for four years, so I pretty much know everyone in the Barcelona team”. Playing against people you know makes you want to play better on the court. You can't afford to play bad, or next time we meet they'll make fun of you".

On the PSG side, Daniel Narcisse is a doubt for the game after traveling to La Reunion for personal matters and his presence would be missed on both sides.

“He's one of the best players on earth, so of course it makes a difference,” says Sorhaindo, while Csaszar admits that “PSG will have to play differently, but it may be useful to surprise Barcelona as well”.

The main difficulty for both sides is being able to surprise your opponent that knows you by heart.

“We, the French players, know each other very well. I know Luc is able to surprise everyone all the time with his tricks but I can't do that. It's important to change the way you play in those games.

“It's all very mental, Daniel knows Nikola, and the other way around, so are they going play the way they usually play? Are they going to change? It usually leads to some brainstorming in the changing room before the game,” explained PSG winger Samuel Honrubia.

In the first leg, Barcelona won by four goals, 33:29 in Paris, but that will do little to influence the result of Saturday’s match.

“I don't know what the result will be this time, but I"m sure it will be a lot of fun,” concluded Sorhaindo.


TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor
 
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