Les Dragonnes de Metz Handball travel to Armorique this Wednesday for a shock clash against Brest Bretagne Handball that could decide the future of the top of the table in the Butagaz Energy League.
This is not news, Metz Handball and Brest matches became a real shock. Although the Brestoise team, which is the big leader in the budget rating of the championship, has raised its level of play, it has been satisfied with the second place in the league and the cup for a long time. However, a particularly smiling 2020/2021 season for the Rebels has now added the final ingredients to a well-established rivalry.
Brest, in the trough of the wave
This season, Brest seems to be dragging the dough. Top of the Champions League in a very strong group A with 6 defeats and a draw in provisional 5th place. While there’s nothing embarrassing about going down to Vipers Kristiansand or CSM Bucharest, the lack of consistency from Odense or Krim isn’t enough to hide BBH’s European ambitions taking another step back with a 46-30 win over Most. The last two games against CSM and Vipers in the group could do more damage.
Pablo Morel’s team is doing well in the league and has only one gap. But an unexpected gap, in early December (24-23) against Saint Amand Handball. A real call for booking when BBH played with fire several times since the beginning of the season: against Dijon (32-30), Nice (29-32) or Besançon (24-27).
Whose fault is it? Perhaps in a team that has not been able to find a link after constant changes: 10 players (out of 20 players) in the squad arrived after the 2021 championship, including foreigners Merel Freiriks, Tatjana Brnovic, Itana Grbic, Jenny Carlson and Helene Fauske.
It can also be blamed for an increasing number of injuries and absenteeism. Itana Grbic was recently suspended for not respecting her return date from holiday, Kleopatre Darleux missed several important matches due to illness and Pauline Coatanéa, who will not feature against Metz, was replaced by Siobann Delaye, waiting for the happy event. On the other hand, the Bretons can hope that Aissatou Kouyaté will return to racing in 2022 after a torn cruciate ligament.
Either way, the Rebels can rely on the fervor of their loyal fans to achieve what no other team in the Championship has been able to do this season.
Metz on top, but in wear management
The dynamic on Messi’s side is more positive with just one defeat this season, in the Champions League at Esbjerg, and a draw with Rapid Bucharest in the same competition. With an invincibility rarely questioned in the league, the Dragons are top of the LBE as well as their Champions League group. Although they will be mentally relieved from their recent victory over Györ last weekend, they will not fall into enough traps and will maintain the same focus in this match on hostile soil. However, this remains one of the strengths of Metz Handball in general.
Also pay attention to physical fatigue. Barring the long absence of Camila Micijevic, the Dragons have slowly started to wear down in recent weeks, barring any major injuries. Intense matches abound (Paris 92, Nantes, Esbjerg, Györ…) and bandages and straps abound on Emmanuel Mayonnade’s players, while the “owner” is particularly demanding and spends more than 45 minutes on the field in each match.
A hostage victim of the major accident that affected the Gare de l’Est and the lack of trains to Brittany in general, the outfit, which has not diminished since Metz Handball with a trip to the Brest Arena, decided to travel by bus. . Nicolas Jarzat must work to ensure that 12-plus hours of driving are not left on the players’ feet when the game starts.
Finally, beware of the trap in this match between Brest and Metz Handball, which should shape the face of the second part of the championship with the top of the classification that could be revived or seriously monopolized by the Dragons. RSVP this Wednesday at 8:30pm.
Photo credit: Matthieu Henkinet (archive)