The challenge and the task were high: winning in Kiel to join Kielce, Veszprem and Barcelona in the Final Four of the Champions League which will take place in Cologne on June 18 and 19.
A feat to look for for PSG in order to return to Germany in a month so that PSG is finally European champion.
Forced into a draw in the first leg in their hall (30-30), Paris had no choice: they had to win in Kiel in the cauldron of the "Zebras" carried by more than 13,000 raging fans.
Or the equivalent of a white-hot Accor Arena.
At worst, PSG could also qualify with a draw provided they score more than 31 goals.
These were the two conditions to have a chance to finally win the most beautiful European trophy that has been leaking from Paris for so long.
Paris, despite a very good first half, did not manage to reverse this mountain.
Beaten in Germany (33-32), PSG is still fanny in the Champions League.
The champions of France will ruminate for a long time on the few minutes of a hole they experienced at the start of the second period.
[#AllezParis] Tonight is the return match #KIELPSG in the European Championship: the 🔴🔵 still have every chance of qualifying for #Final4!
Inetum, proud to be a Major Partner of Paris Saint-Germain Handball 🤾♂️@psghand #Sponsoring #ChampionsLeague @ehfcl @NKARABATIC https://t.co/9H6NfJdNmV
— Inetum France (@inetum_fra) May 19, 2022
Unlike the first leg where they ran after the score, the Parisians got off to a very good start this time to the point of leading 5-2 after 8 minutes of play.
Paris was very good at the start carried by a good Vincent Gérard in his cage and an excellent Nedim Remili who did not know at the start of the evening if he was playing, in the event of elimination, his last Champions League match. with Paris.
He will live the next epic with the Poles of Kielce.
A great first half...
Despite the improvement of the Germans, the Parisians were still in front after the first quarter of an hour (7-9).
Ditto after 20 minutes of play: PSG still led (11-13) by putting under the extinguisher the former Parisian Sander Sagosen so formidable in the first leg.
The gap even rose to + 3 (11-14) at the start of the last 10 minutes of the first period, Benoît Kounkoud even missing a shot in the empty goal to be at + 4, a miss that was important later.
Obviously not enough to claim victory but at that moment, it smelled pretty good.
Yes but: the interest and the concern of the hand are that nothing never lasts long.
Weighed down by suspensions for 2 minutes (Steins, Luka Karabatic, etc.) at the end of the first half, PSG's game fell apart for a few minutes.
Kiel obviously took the opportunity to catch up.
But at the break, it was PSG who were still ahead (19-17).
Other good news, Paris was approaching the 31 goals needed in the event of a draw.
30': It's the break!
Paris is in the lead!
Go on !!!!
– PSG Handball (@psghand) May 19, 2022
From then on, it was necessary to hold on, to keep a small margin, not to doubt and above all to restore confidence to the Germans.
Easy to write because the atmosphere of the match became more and more unbreathable and Paris fell into the trap.
Kiel came back to the mark (19-19) to put the pressure on.
We expected a close and hypertensive match and it became the case.
For the first time, Kiel went ahead (21-20, 36th then 23-21, 39th) to scare Parisians who lost too many balls at the start of the second half.
Kiel fans then went into a frenzy and the volcano erupted.
The pressure changed sides and PSG failed to get out of it.
The Germans did not miss much, PSG mumbled a few attacks and the gap grew, very slowly (26-23, 43rd).
A quarter of an hour from the end, Kiel, winner of his last Champions League in 2020, still had a 2-goal lead (27-25).
Luc Steins sounded the revolt, Elohim Prandi rounded up the troops, Paris got back together (29-28, 50th) and 10 minutes from the end, everything was still possible.
6 minutes from the end, the two teams crossed the 30-goal mark (31-30) and PSG no longer had the obligation to win to qualify.
At 31-31 (57th), Paris became eligible again.
4 seconds from the end, Kiel led by one goal (33-32) with the ball in Parisian hands but Paris did not score.
Paris failed by one goal, a very small goal.
After the elimination of Montpellier the day before against Kielce, there will be no French club in the Final Four, a first since 2019.