20220223 Vardar Zagreb 2
EHF Champions League

Davis faces former club, Elverum out to surprise PSG

Eight play-off matches will decide the four open spots in the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League Men. As Aalborg, Kielce, Kiel and Barca have directly qualified for the next round, two Hungarian and two French sides appear to be favourites to proceed but face tricky tests in the play-offs.

Having been eliminated several times in previous years by Kiel, Szeged hope to beat their local rivals Flensburg-Handewitt, Veszprém face their former coach David Davis with Vardar in a repeat of the final in 2019.

Paris are favourites in their MOTW confrontation against Elverum but without Mikkel Hansen, the French side will have to negotiate the first leg in Norway and avoid a potential upset. The contests pitting Flensburg vs Szeged and Porto vs Montpellier look way more complex and the first leg encounters will be vital.

PLAY-OFFS, FIRST LEG

Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Wednesday 30 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Elverum qualified for the play-offs after finishing sixth in group A, while Paris finished third in group B
  • the two sides played against each other four times in the last two seasons, Paris won all confrontations
  • with 449 goals conceded, Elverum were the second least efficient defence of all group phase sides
  • Paris had the second most efficient attack of the group phase, having scored 452 goals
  • Paris announced last week that Mikkel Hansen suffered post-surgery complications and would be out until the end of the season
  • on the other hand, left back Elohim Prandi made his comeback last weekend in the game against Nancy, which Paris won 37:32, and is now fit to play

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Pick Szeged (HUN)
Wednesday 30 March, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Szeged qualified for the play-offs by finishing third of group A while Flensburg earned their spot by finishing sixth in group B
  • Flensburg and Szeged faced each other eight times in the EHF Champions League since 2011. The German side took six confrontations, while Szeged won one and one ended on a draw
  • both teams’ best scorers netted 61 times this season: Bence Banhidi for Szeged and Hampus Wanne for Flensburg
  • Szeged took three points out of four against the other German club in the Champions League this season, THW Kiel
  • last weekend, Flensburg won 32:26 at Melsungen in the Bundesliga while Szeged took the points against Veszprémi KKFT in the Hungarian league (42:23)
HC VARDAR 1961 SG FLENSBURG Machula X4
Szeged is a really strong opponent, so it will be a tough play-off game for us. They play very physically and with Dean Bombac they have a great centre back, so we have to provide a compact defence. Szeged is tactically very clever and relies on a very good coach. We are looking forward to a great game and hopefully a great atmosphere in the FLENS-ARENA.
Maik Machulla
Flensburg coach

HC Vardar (MKD) vs Telekom Veszprém (HUN)
Thursday 31 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the aggregate winners of this duel face group A winners Aalborg in the quarter-finals
  • Vardar took the optimum of eight points in their last four group matches to finish fifth in group A, while Veszprém had 17 points on their account (eight victories, one draw, five defeats) to finish fourth in group B
  • Vardar coach David Davis had been coach at Veszprém until the summer of 2021, six months later, he took over the two-time champions and kept a clean record in the competition so far
  • with 68 strikes, left wing Timur Dibirov is currently the best Vardar scorer, eighth on the top scorer list, Petar Nenadic (68) and Gasper Marguc (63) are Veszprém’s top scorers
  • in total, Veszprém won ten of the 13 previous Champions League duels against Vardar, including both of last season’s play-offs (41:27, 39:30)
20200916 Veszprem Nenadic
It is going to be a very tough game because Vardar play much better since Davis arrived and the atmosphere is always special in Skopje. We are going to prepare as much as we can so that we’re ready for the game, I hope we can win the first game too.
Petar Nenadic
Veszprém centre back

FC Porto (POR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Thursday 31 March, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the aggregate winners of this duel face group B winners Kielce in the quarter-finals
  • in the 2019/20 season, their only duels to date, Porto remained unbeaten against Montpellier with a 27:22 away win and a 23:23 draw at home
  • Montpellier have not won the last five group matches (two draws and three defeats) and let top spot in group A slip from their hands to finish fourth on 17 points in group A, while Porto surprised with draws against Barça and Veszprém and a win over group winners Kielce to finally finish fifth in group B
  • for the third straight time after 2020 and 2021, Porto qualified for the knockout stages of the EHF Champions League. Last season, they were eliminated in the play-offs by eventual finalists Aalborg only by the away goal rule
  • in the French league, Montpellier won 33:23 at European League Last 16 participants Nimes to place fourth in the table, while Porto are second below Sporting in Portugal and won their last match 30:24 against Maia Ismai
20220216 Veszprem Porto Magnus Andersson
There are no weak teams in the Champions League. so if we are playing the play-off to access to quarter-finals we have to expect the greatest games. We will fight and do our best to continue in this competition. Montpellier is a great team but FC Porto also, they have their weapons and so do we. We are excited to play this game.
Magnus Andersson
Porto coach

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