Most Last 16 ties wide open before second leg

It is make or break on Tuesday night for the 16 teams left in the EHF European League Men 2021/22 as the eight quarter-finalists will be determined.

The first leg of the Last 16 provided some teams with a substantial lead, most notably RK Gorenje Velenje and Kadetten Schaffhausen, who take a seven- and six-goal buffer, respectively, into the return leg.

However, most ties are still wide open ahead of Tuesday’s second leg, as titleholders SC Magdeburg (draw at Sporting CP), last year’s finalists Füchse Berlin (one-goal defeat at HBC Nantes) and SL Benfica (four-goal defeat at Fenix Toulouse Handball) all face a true challenge.

Last season’s EHF Finals Men contenders Orlen Wisla Plock and Danish side GOG were the only teams to win their away match last week and they will start their home games with confidence.

LAST 16, LEG 2

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER) – first leg 31:28
Tuesday 5 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • in the first leg, Plock turned a 15:13 half-time deficit into a 31:28 away win at Lemgo, their second straight victory on German ground after beating Füchse in the last group match
  • Sergei Mark Kosorotov (nine), Przemyslaw Krajewski (seven) were best Plock scorers last week; Lukas Zerbe and Bjarki Mar Elisson bitg scored seven for Lemgo
  • Plock left wing Przemyslaw Krajewski: "It will be another hard match for both teams. The atmosphere was great in Germany. This time we will play in front of our own fans who will support us throughout this match"
  • Plock were the winners of group A, while Lemgo finished fourth in group B
  • Plock beat Szceczin in the Polish league 37:28 and remain second behind Lomza Vive Kielce; Lemgo were defeated at home 32:20 by GWD Minden and are ninth in the German Bundesliga
  • the winners of this tie will meet the winners of Sävehof vs Kadetten in the quarter-final

Füchse Berlin (GER) vs HBC Nantes (FRA) – first leg 24:25
Tuesday 5 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Nantes won the first leg at home by one goal, 25:24, as both goalkeepers starred: Nantes’ Emil Nielsen had 18 saves, Füchse’s Dejan Milosavljev 18
  • that win was the first for Nantes against a German side this season, after a loss and a draw against Lemgo in the group phase
  • in the group phase, Berlin only lost one home game, against Wisla Plock (30:29)
  • Füchse reached the inaugural EHF Finals Men last season, while Nantes played the EHF FINAL4 2021 in Cologne
  • last weekend, Nantes won in Créteil (35:31) while Füchse Berlin did not play in the German Bundesliga

SL Benfica (POR) vs Fenix Toulouse HB (FRA) – first leg 34:38
Tuesday 5 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Toulouse scored the most goals of any team in the Last 16 first leg, while Benfica’s Petar Nenadic was the best scorer with 13 goals
  • Benfica won six of their seven home games in the European League this season; their only loss came in the group phase against GOG (33:25)
  • Toulouse lost two away matches this season – in Berlin and in Plock, but won the other five
  • Benfica eliminated last season’s EHF Finals hosts Rhein-Neckar Löwen in qualification round before the group phase
  • last weekend, Toulouse defeated Saran 30:28 in the French Starligue; Benfica had a more straight-forward win against Boa Hora (36:23) in the Portuguese league

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) – first leg 26:32
Tuesday 5 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • thanks to 13 saves of goalkeeper Kristian Pilipovic and nine goals of Samuel Zehnder, Kadetten turned a 14:13 half-time deficit into a clear 32:26 victory in the first leg
  • it is the fourth duel between the two teams; all previous matches were won by the home team
  • Kadetten have not qualified for the quarter-final of an EHF competition since reaching the EHF Cup final in 2009/10, which they lost to Lemgo
  • the winners of this tie will meet Lemgo or Plock in the next round
  • Sävehof would return to a quarter-final for the first time since winning the Challenge Cup in 2013/14
20220328 ELM L16 Preview Sävahof Quote
This will be an extremely tough challenge, but we will play our best. If the opportunity to get a desired result is there, then we will do our best to take it.
Michael Apelgren
IK Sävehof head coach

GOG (DEN) vs Bidasoa Irun (ESP) – first leg 30:28
Tuesday 5 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Swedish left wing Jerry Tollbring was instrumental for GOG in the first leg, scoring 11 times
  • GOG scored 30 or more goals for the 10th time in their 15 matches so far this season
  • GOG are undefeated on home court this season in all competitions; in the European League, only Nantes managed to get a draw in Denmark
  • Irun won just one of their five away games in the group phase
  • both teams are coming from domestic wins: GOG defeated Nordsjaelland 33:27 in Denmark; Irun won 31:24 at La Rioja in Spain

RK Eurofarm Pelister (MKD) vs RK Nexe (CRO) – first leg 26:29
Tuesday 5 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Fahrudin Melic (eight goals) and Marin Jelinic (six) were the leading scorers for Nexe in their home win last week
  • goalkeeper Márton Székely stood out for Pelister with 16 saves
  • Pelister won four of their five home matches in the group phase
  • Nexe had their domestic league match last weekend postponed to fully concentrate on the match in Bitola; Pelister won against Ohrid 29:23
  • Josip Peric is back in the squad for Pelister after missing the first leg in Nasice

SC Magdeburg (GER) vs Sporting CP (POR) – first leg 29:29
Tuesday 5 April, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the first leg marked Magdeburg’s second draw this season, after the draw at La Rioja; the titleholders had won their other nine group matches
  • the young Costa brothers Francisco (17) and Martim (19) were Sporting’s outstanding players in the first leg, scoring eight goals each
  • Magdeburg coach Bennet Wiegert: "The game in Lisbon was very exciting. Now we are looking forward to the home game in the GETEC Arena in front of our fans"
  • Magdeburg confirmed their No. 1 position in the German Bundesliga with a 30:22 win against Hannover-Burgdorf
  • Sporting remained on top of the Portuguese league after a 45:29 win against Gaia
  • the winners of this tie will take on either Nantes or Füchse in the quarter-final

USAM Nimes Gard (FRA) vs RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO) – first leg 22:29
Tuesday 5 April, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • last week’s home victory extended Velenje’s winning streak in the competition to four matches, after they had won their last three group matches by a single goal each time
  • the seven-goal win in the first leg was Velenje’s biggest win of the season so far
  • Nimes have been struggling for consistency in the French league lately but defeated Chambéry 29:28 last weekend
  • Velenje also had domestic success, beating Koper 33:28
  • goalkeepers Aljaz Panjtar and Emir Taletovic have both extended their contracts with Velenje in the build-up to the Last 16 second leg

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