16 nations, 11 Olympic medallists, 2 Champions League winners
The group phase of the EHF European League 2021/22 is ready for throw-off. Before defending champions SC Magdeburg and the 23 other teams enter the road to the Last 16, here are the most interesting stats.
0 goals was the smallest winning margin in qualification round 2, as Nexe and Bjerringbro were locked at 59:59 with Nexe advancing based on the away-goal rule.
1 city, Portuguese capital Lisbon, is represented by two clubs: Benfica and Sporting.
1 country, France, is represented by four group phase participants: Nimes, Nantes, PAUC and Toulouse. Germany have three teams; Spain, Portugal and Switzerland have two.
1 former EHF Champions League winner - RK Celje - failed in the qualification, against GOG.
1 team of the 24 group phase participants was part of the EHF Champions League last season – and even made it to the EHF FINAL4: Nantes.
2 former EHF Champions League winners - Bidasoa Irun (1995) and SC Magdeburg (2002) - have qualified for the group phase.
2 winners of EHF club competitions in 2020/21 are part of the group phase: SC Magdeburg (winners European League) and AEK Athens (winners European Cup).
3 former European club competitions winners failed in qualification round 2: Granollers, Leon, and Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
3 teams that took part in the EHF Finals 2021 in Mannheim are part of the group phase: winners SC Magdeburg, finalists Füchse Berlin (both Germany) and fourth-ranked Wisla Plock (Poland). Rhein-Neckar Löwen lost in qualification round 2 to Benfica.
3 clubs that were part of an EHF FINAL4 event are part of the group phase: Nantes (2018, 2021), Berlin (2012) and Chekhov (2010).
3 clubs that played at EHF Cup Finals are part of the group phase: Nantes (2013, 2016), Berlin (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) and Velenje (2015).
3 French Olympic gold medallists are part of the group phase: Michael Guigou, Remi Desbonnet (both Nimes) and Romain Lagarde (PAUC).
3 former EHF Cup winners are part of the group phase: SC Magdeburg (1999, 2001, 2007), TBV Lemgo (2006, 2010), Füchse Berlin (2015 and 2018).
3 former Cup Winners’ Cup champions have qualified for the group phase: Chekhovskie medvedi (2006), Bidasoa Irun (1997), TBV Lemgo (1996).
4 Danish Olympic silver medallists play for group stage participants: Lasse Andersson, Jakob Holm (both Berlin), Morten Olsen and Mathias Gidsel (both GOG); Gidsel was MVP of the Olympics.
4 Spanish Olympic bronze medallists play for group stage participants: Valero Rivera, Adria Figueras (Nantes), Julen Aguinagalde (Irun) and Gedeon Guardiola (Lemgo).
5 teams won both matches in qualification round 2: Schaffhausen, Lemgo, Toulouse, Berlin and Sporting.
6 teams have gone from qualification round 1 to the group phase: Schaffhausen, La Rioja, Toulouse, Benfica, GOG and Nexe.
6 teams started their mission in qualification round 2: Lemgo, Füchse, Nimes, Plock, PAUC and Sporting.
10 group matches are ahead for each of the 24 teams.
12 teams from 12 nations were directly seeded to the group phase: Magdeburg (GER), Nantes (FRA), Irun (ESP), Tatabánya (HUN), Sävehof (SWE), Bitola (MKD), Winterthur (SUI), Chekhov (RUS), Velenje (SLO), Presov (SVK), Cocks (FIN) and Athens (GRE).
13 of the 24 teams of last season’s group phase are back: Nexe, GOG, Toulouse, Nimes, Magdeburg, Berlin, Tatabánya, Bitola, Plock, Sporting, Chekhov, Schaffhausen and Presov.
16 different nations are represented by the 24 teams: Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Sweden. Compared to last season’s 17 nations, Austria, Romania and Turkey are out, Finland and Greece are in.
18 goals was the biggest winning margin in qualification round 2, when PAUC beat Arendal 67:49 on aggregate.
20 games (or less) are ahead for those four teams, which qualify for the final tournament, depending on which qualification round they have started from.
46 matches of two qualification rounds have already been played before the start of the group phase.
120 group matches decide the 16 participants of the knockout stages.
148 matches are ahead of us before the winners of the EHF European League Men is decided, including 28 knock-out matches from the Last 16 until the final.