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30.01.2019, 18:20
Can home comforts help Brest against favourites Metz?
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FIRST-HAND INSIGHT: Ahead of the all-French clash between Brest Bretagne and Metz, it is time to take took a look at both teams’ strengths and weaknesses
 

Can home comforts help Brest against favourites Metz?

The second round of matches in the Women's EHF Champions League features three national derbies and all three are the subject of this series of first-hand insights, breaking down both teams and comparing their relative strengths. Read about the Danish derby.

Ahead of the all-French clash between Brest Bretagne and Metz, we took a look at both teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Although everything points in Metz’s favour, do not forget that Brest is a tough place to travel to and that factor helps put everything into perspective.

Attack
Advantage Metz

You think that between a force that includes Ana Gros and Allison Pineau on one hand, and a more hard-working team such as Metz, the advantage would lean towards Brest, but that is not the case.

If you look at the statistics, both teams have scored exactly the same number of goals in games counted in the main round.

Metz’s attacking players have known each other for years, with the core of the team having worn the jersey for at least three seasons now. And they can rely on Manon Houette’s fastbreaks to add some goals to the board. In Brest, everything had to be built in September with the arrival of Bella Gullden, but her pregnancy has forced Laurent Bezeau to find new solutions, which is still a work in progress.

Defence
Advantage Metz

With 117 goals conceded, Metz hold the best defensive record of all teams qualified for the main round. Over the course of the seven games taken into account, Brest have conceded 30 more, making them the fourth worst team in this area.

While Brest’s players may shine on offense, they are not particularly precise defenders. And Cléopatre Darleux’s injury at the beginning of the group matches did not help either.

On the other hand, defence has been Metz’ trademark for years. It is no wonder they allow so few goals when they count among their ranks the French national team’s defensive specialist Beatrice Edwige. The line player is surrounded by players she is very comfortable with, such as Grâce Zaadi and Gnonsiane Niombla and you feel they could play together with closed eyes.

Goalkeepers
Tie

There is the battle between a European champion, Laura Glauser, and a world champion Cléopatre Darleux. Both started the season with fitness issues, Glauser returning from giving birth and Darleux injuring her knee in October. The two number twos are quite on the same level too, Brest’s Filippa Idehn and Metz’s Ivana Kapitanovic.

Experience
Advantage Metz

Brest are only in their second season in the Women’s EHF Champions League. They wanted, for the first time, to reach the main round this season, and they have fulfilled that aim. Of course, with such summer signings, thoughts of Budapest must have flashed, but it seems we will need to be a bit more patient with the French side. The loss to Odense last week will make it hard for them to hope for more than fourth place this group.

This season is the 20th for Metz in the Women’s EHF Champions League. n the last two, they stumbled in the quarter-finals and missed out on Budapest. They made it clear that they have learned from their mistakes and they now want something more. The core of the team has been kept for the past three seasons and they know how to handle big occasions.

The verdict

This breakdown suggest Metz go into the game as favourites and with the victory over Rostov last week, they are very much the in-form side.

However, Brest will have home advantage and a game against their domestic rivals is certain to see them rise to the challenge and make Metz work hard for the two points.


TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor
 
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