Three-way duel for two quarter-final spots
The last six matches of the 2021/22 EHF Champions League group phase are ahead, and two straight tickets for the quarter-finals and the last ticket for the play-offs are still to be decided.
In group A, Elverum and Zagreb both have a chance of the last play-off spot, while Aalborg fight for top position - although they are already qualified for the quarter-finals alongside THW Kiel. As Meshkov Brest was suspended from the EHF Champions League, Kiel received 2:0 points and 10:0 goals and will not play their 14th match.
In group B, three teams compete for the two top spots. Kielce, Barça and Paris are currently tied, but if they all win this week, Barça and Kielce would proceed to the quarter-finals, thanks to a better goal difference in direct confrontations. Flensburg can hope to move up a place, but their task will be huge in Barcelona on Thursday.
Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Wednesday 9 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- Aalborg have already secured their quarter-final spot, but still can finish top of the group if they win. If they tie, they are equal with Kiel on 21 points, but have lost the direct encounter
- by winning 33:31 in Montpellier last week, Aalborg extended their longest winning run to six matches
- Aalborg’s Swedish EHF EURO champion Felix Claar is currently top scorer of the competition with 75 goals
- Zagreb are currently equal with Elverum and lost the direct encounter against the Norwegian champions, therefore they need to take one point more than Elverum to proceed to the play-offs
- PPD were unlucky in the last two rounds, losing against both Kiel and Vardar by one goal
It is always fantastic to play at home in front of our fans and this is an important one. I am really looking forward to the game and give it all we have got to end the group phase at the top.
HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) vs Elverum Handball (NOR)
Wednesday 9 March, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- thanks to six points from the last three matches (including against Brest by EHF decision), Vardar have qualified for the play-offs and will finish in fifth position regardless of all other results
- since David Davis took over as a coach, the Macedonian side are unbeaten in the Champions League, and come to this game knowing they have never lost to Elverum in three matches (one win, two draws)
- Elverum could finish on an equal number of points with Zagreb and make it to the play-offs, as they both have eight after round 13 – and they will know Zagreb’s result when they start
- Elverum have lost the last seven group matches, but can count on the fifth best Champions League scorer, Tobias Grøndahl (69 goals)
- the reverse fixture of this duel in round 1 ended in a 27:27 draw
Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Thursday 10 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- it is the duel for third place in this group; Montpellier (16 points) can pass Szeged (18), if they win, as the first game ended 29:29. The overall balance is equal with five victories each and two draws
- Montpellier have lost all three group matches in 2022 against Vardar, Kiel and Aalborg, losing their position at the top of the group
- Szeged have won three of the last four matches, for them a draw is already enough to remain in third position
- the top scorers of the two sides are Bence Banhidi (Szeged/61) and Julien Bos (Montpellier/55)
- in the French league, Montpellier took a convincing 31:18 win at Sedan on Sunday, while Szeged kept the top position in the Hungarian league with a 31:27 victory against Ferencvaros
Against Montpellier, it will be a very tight match like the first match of the season. A few things will decide the winner of the match and I believe that will be us.
Lomza Vive Kielce (POL) vs CS Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU)
Wednesday 09 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- Kielce will secure one of the two top spots of the group if they win the game on Wednesday
- on the other hand, Dinamo are already out of the race for the play-off
- currently, Kielce are tied leaders of the group, with 18 points, while Dinamo are second last, with eight points
- Dinamo won the first confrontation between the two sides this season (32:29)
- last weekend, Kielce took the points in the Polish league against Chrobry Glogow (43:23)
Barça (ESP) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Thursday 10 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- Barça are in the same position as Kielce, as they need a win to progress to the quarter-finals, as they are currently tied in the top position with Kielce and Paris
- Flensburg have already secured their ticket for the play-offs, but they can move up one place if they manage to win in Spain on Thursday
- Barça won the game between the two clubs in round 1 (25:21)
- the German side have never managed to take a point in Palau Blaugrana in four games there
- last weekend, Barça defeated Granollers in the Liga Asobal (37:33), while Flensburg lost 24:25 in Leipzig in the Bundesliga
MOTW: Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs Telekom Veszprém (HUN)
Thursday 10 March, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- Paris are currently tied leaders of the group with Barça and Kielce, all on 18 points
- if they want to progress directly to the quarter-finals, Paris must take the points on Thursday while hoping for a mistake from one of their direct opponents
- on the other hand, Veszprém are now certain of finishing fourth in the group
- since 2014, only once in five away games have Veszprém managed to win in Paris. Their last three trips to the Stade Coubertin resulted in a loss
- last weekend, Veszprém took the points in their domestic league against Veszprémi KKFT (37:33) while Paris won 33:27 in Chambéry
We have to play with the same flow, mentality, positivity as we did recently. We need to show our best face and we need to enjoy playing handball. We want to win, especially me, I have never won a game in Paris before.