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EHF Champions League

Barça secure top position with big win

MAL7445 V
EHF / Björn Pazen

The top two teams will meet in the final round in Kielce next week, but Barça have now already secured the top position of the group. Thanks to a clear 35:25 win against Pick Szeged on Wednesday, the record winners and defending champions have taken their 12th win in their 13 group match. With 25 points on their account they cannot get passed by the runners-up from Poland (20 points before their match at Nantes tomorrow) anymore. Szeged are now sixth in the group as they were passed by Aalborg (winner against Elverum tonight) - but Szeged have secured their play-off spot. 

Barça (ESP) vs. Pick Szeged (HUN) 35:25 (20:10) 

  • Szeged travelled to Barcelona with only 12 court players and one goalkeeper - and therefore were far below the level which they had shown last week, when they beat Kiel 36:33
  • saving 47 per cent of all shots before the break, Barça goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas was the main reason for the already decisive double-digit lead after 30 minutes 
  • ten of 14 Barça court players had already scored before the break, topped by Blaz Janc (5), as the hosts scored from all positions 
  • Szeged played hard after the break - and one player stood out: goalkeeper Roland Mikler was like a wall and with 16 saves he even had one more than Perez de Vargas; Mikler was the main reason why the second half ended with a 15:15 “draw” 
  • Janc and the two Frenchmen, Dika Mem and Ludovic Fabregas, were the top scorers with five goals each 

Barça on a high before the re-match versus Kielce 

Next Thursday, a handball deli will be served in Kielce, as the 2022 finalists will clash for the second time this season. But, the match will not affect the standings, so for the hosts it will be for honour, and for Barça it will be about finishing the group phase unbeaten and to extend their streak of unbeaten Champions League matches to 24 (21 victories and two draws so far). In fact, Barça’s last Champions League defeat happened in Kielce, on 24 November 2021, when they lost 24:27. And, just one week earlier in 2021, Kielce was also the last team - and the first after several years - to take the points from Palau Blaugrana. Barcelona struck back in the 2022 final, defeating Kielce after a penalty shoot-out. And, then this season, Barça took both points in round 2 with a 32:28 victory. Both sides have also secured their direct spot in the quarter-finals,  

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