Nahi: “Only our performance will get us through”
Still only 21, Paris Saint-Germain HB left wing Dylan Nahi has a lot of EHF Champions League experience under his belt. He is already in his fifth season, having made his debut at age 15, and has been at three EHF FINAL4 events.
Familiar with international club handball, Nahi knows that PSG can still make it to the EHF FINAL4 again – despite the 31:29 loss in the first quarter-final leg at THW Kiel last week.
“We had mixed feelings after the game,” Nahi said. “Kiel are a great team, they are the titleholders, so to come back with only a two-goal deficit is not a bad result. But we were ahead by four at some point, so we hoped for a better turnout, too.”
The return leg on Wednesday at 18:45 CEST has been labelled the Match of the Week. PSG will count on 800 spectators, as this is their third game with fans attending since the start of the Champions League season.
Any outside support will be welcome for the French side, but Nahi said that “we will be the ones on the court. We were dying to see our fans again, so we are very happy, but we know that only our performance will get us through to the EHF FINAL4, so we remain very focused.”
The fans lucky enough to get a seat in the arena Wednesday will see a different Nahi from the player he was at the start of the season.
Meanwhile, he has become one of the stalwarts of his team, scoring 56 goals in the Champions League. Last week, he was once again PSG’s best scorer as he netted eight times in Kiel.
His performances in the Champions League earned him a place in the French national team for the recent EHF EURO qualifiers.
“I’m seeing further than that. I think my performances in the last few months gave me that chance, but I would be foolish to stop right there. I want to keep improving so I can come back for more important occasions,” he said.
Nahi’s progress has also earned him a nomination for the EHF Champions League All-star Team as best young player.
“I am really happy about it, as I worked hard to win this kind of awards, but in the meantime, I try not to pay too much attention. It is a reward for my work, but it is definitely not an ending,” Nahi said.
For now, he and his teammates are focused on the return game against Kiel.
While PSG have the fans on their side, Kiel are expected to have Sander Sagosen back. The Norwegian star and former PSG player missed the first game in Germany last week due to illness.
His presence, however, will not unsettle Nahi.
“It is not a game between Sander and Paris, but between Kiel and Paris. It is good for them if he is back, but that will not make us deviate from our track. No matter what, they might be ahead at the break of the confrontation, but we want to be one goal ahead at the end.”
It is not a game between Sander (Sagosen) and Paris, but between Kiel and Paris. It is good for them if he is back, but that will not make us deviate from our track.