Saint Ger hitting form at the right time for passionate Egara rematch

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

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Saint Germain head into EHL week in top shape following their 5-3 win over fierce Parisian rivals Racing Club de France, maintaining their two-point gap over CA Montrouge.

And Kevin Mercurio says it was the perfect preparation game to lead into their game with Club Egara in the KO16 on April 18 (12.45 CET).

“We are currently leading the championships but the most important thing for this season is still ahead of us with the Euro Hockey League and the playoffs,” he told the EHL website

“The Racing Club de France match was important for our rhythm, tactics in offence and defence and out corners being the key words before heading to Eindhoven. It's an exciting week!”

William-Ike Jeammot scored twice against Racing, adding to efforts from Martin Genestet, Stijn Gabriel and Blaise Rogeau.

They have had a few issues this term with crucial defenders Tom Genestet and Frederic Gohlke suffering injuries but they are back in the fold now for their big rematch against Egara after two passionate meetings in recent years.

“I am confident they will be operational, they are competitors. We will all be at full strength and highly motivated for this competition.”

“Again Club Egara ... we have already played them twice in two different situations. The first time was in 2015 at Bloemendaal KO16, we had a good collective performance [1-1] before losing in a shoot out [5-4]. The second time was in 2017 in ROUND1 in Barcelona, they were at home, We were super good in defence and the team produced an incredible match, winning 6-4.

“It was one of my best memories in the EHL, eliminating the Spanish team at home was really amazing. It was super tight as a match, with plenty of opportunities on both sides; we could have lost the game but the luck turned in our favour.

“We got a stroke one minute from the end. It was crazy beautiful and our supporters were behind us all along; our " twelfth man".”

Since then, the side has seen Hugo Genestet and Arthur Thieffry move on to the Belgian league while Matthias Dierckens has taken over as head coach from Charles Verrier.

“This is a new team led by a new coach and new tactics; I hope we will give a good image of St Germain in this KO16 in Eindhoven. We will give everything to achieve another good performance against Egara which seems to me stronger than last season.

“We are outsiders for this duel but we are all very motivated and will play this game at 100%. We have started to analyze Egara and reckon they are very strong in the counterattack and from corners.

“We will have to make a new collective defensive performance and take our opportunities to impose ourselves again.”

But the hope is to continue French hockey’s good form of late with a club reaching the KO8 for the past two years, backing up their national team’s World Cup quarter-final performance.

“We had a great season last year; we had a favourable draw to play the Irish Three Rocks Rovers, it was a very difficult match physically and tactically in the KO16 in Rotterdam before playing the exceptional team of Bloemendaal.

“We finished the season with a superb title in France. Six players from St Germain participated in the World Cup in India in Bhubaneswar and only four will play this KO16 next Thursday [Tom Genestet, François Goyet, Blaise Rogeau and Kévin Mercurio].

“It was an exceptional experience ... the French team is greatly progressing after its wonderful World Cup and the French Federation have provided new means in terms of preparation with more sport camps, more training and new staff at the head of this team.”