Six talking points that sum up 2022
The Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23 went into its winter (and 2023 IHF World Championship) break last week. With the calendar year close to ending, we ask the question: what kind of year 2022 has been?
2022 has been a year of joy, tears, and the nice feeling of coming back to normal. Fans gathered in the arenas again, games were played on their scheduled dates, and – very often – Barça won. But many teams left a great impression in Europe’s top flight, both on the court and in the stands.
Here are six talking points about the EHF Champions League in 2022:
Barça won the title, again
After lifting the trophy almost behind closed doors in 2021, Barça could celebrate with their fans when they lifted the trophy again in June – for the 10th time in the club’s history. The final weekend in Cologne was a close one, judging by the results at the EHF FINAL4. And it was only after the shootout that Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas could lead his teammates onto the top step of the podium.
Kamil Syprzak, best scorer of the year
PSG’s Polish line player has played a stunning year in 2022. Across all 20 games, he netted 116 times, an usually high number for a line player. But since last season, Syprzak has been shooting penalties for PSG – and not missing many of them. Twice in 2022 did Syprzak score 10 goals or more in a single game: 12 in the first leg of the 2021/22 play-offs against Elverum; 10 in the 2022/23 group phase against GOG.
Seven players played the maximum number of games
Taking into account the 10 group phase games in 2022/23, the four in 2021/22, the play-offs, the quarter-finals, and the EHF FINAL4, a player could be involved in up to 20 EHF Champions League games in 2022. And seven of them achieved that feat – all from Telekom Veszprém HC: Manuel Strlek, Rodrigo Corrales, Patrik Ligetvári, Gasper Marguc, Petar Nenadic, Vladimir Cupara, and Jorge Maqueda – who switched to HBC in the offseason.
451 players played at least one game
While seven played in all 20 EHF Champions League games in 2022, 451 players made at least one appearance in the competition. Actually, 26 of them only stepped once on the court in the competition – the vast majority of them either with HC Meshkov Brest or HC Motor last season.
Big crowds welcome Barça
The hosting of reigning champions Barça has prompted some clubs to setting up big events in unusual venues. Elverum welcomed the Spanish side in the sold-out Lillehammer’s Håkons Hall in front of more than 11,000 spectators. In the last round of 2022, HBC Nantes also sold out the Neodif XXL with 10,322 fans. In both occasions, Barça were not impressed and took both points with them.
20 clubs on EHF Champions League courts in 2022
A total of 20 clubs has donned the courts of the EHF Champions League in 2022. The group phase of 2021/22 was completed early in the year with 16 teams; the group phase of the new campaign started in September with 12 returning and four ‘new’ clubs: SC Magdeburg, Orlen Wisla Plock, GOG and HBC Nantes.