SUMMARY: Barça, PSG close in on Cologne; other ties wide open
The Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23 quarter-finals threw off with two first-leg matches on Wednesday and two on Thursday, including the Match of the Week in which Telekom Veszprém HC and Barlinek Industria Kielce settled for a 29:29 draw after an entertaining 60 minutes.
- first leg of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23 quarter-finals
- on Thursday: Telekom Veszprém HC and Barlinek Industria Kielce draw 29:29 in an entertaining MOTW in Hungary; and Barça take a convincing seven-goal win at GOG, 37:30
- on Wednesday, Plock fight back for a 22:22 draw with Magdeburg and Paris Saint-Germain take a big step towards Cologne with a 31:27 victory in Kiel
- check the results page for more details on each match
- highlight videos available on the Home of Handball YouTube page
- Eric Willemsen reported on Thursday; all photos courtesy of the home teams
Thursday 11 May
Here ends our coverage of the first leg of the quarter-finals. Two ties have a clear favourite, the other two ties though could not be more open:
- Plock vs Magdeburg 22:22
- Kiel vs PSG 27:31
- MOTW Veszprém vs Kielce 29:29
- GOG vs Barça 30:37
So, join us again next week for the second leg, when we find out which four teams continue their quest for the title at the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2023 in Cologne.
Thanks for spending this Machineseeker EHF Champions League night with us on the live blog. For now it is good night and enjoy the best pictures of the night in our gallery:
The MOTW between Veszprém and Kielce, and titleholders Barça visiting GOG, were the last two matches in the first leg of the quarter-finals. You can watch the match highlights on the Home of Handball YouTube page and read the match reviews by EHF journalist Björn Pazen below:
So, the first leg of the quarter-finals is done and dusted. With two draws and two clear wins, we have got a first indication of who might make it to the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2023.
What do you think? Tell us in our poll below:
No surprises in Denmark tonight. Let's hear from Barça's Domen Makuc and GOG's Simon Pytlick right after the game:
They play very fast and really nice handball, so it is not finished yet. We have another match in one week and we need to be focused and again play with respect. It was good, but we can always improve.
It will be a hard match in Barcelona but we are looking forward to it because they are so good. With seven goals, it will be difficult. Their players on the bench are also really good, so when they change the first team, the second team also delivers a good match. That made it a hard match to play today.
22:22 RESULT | GOG vs Barça 30:37 (15:19)
A big step for Barça towards Cologne! A seven-goal win should be enough to seal their berth. Emil Madsen lives up to his billing as top scorer with nine goals, but the GOG shooter needs no less than 18 attempts for that total.
Oh my GOG..!
Ten minutes left in Denmark, Barça lead GOG 31:25. That is the same margin as in their last match back in March 2009, when Barça won 35:29.
Times, they are not always changin'...
Yes, it is Champions League night! Question is, which sport?
No real change after the break, as Barça remain in control of this match, now leading by five: 29:24. What can GOG do from here?
21:23 HALF-TIME | GOG vs Barça 15:19
No fooling around with the defending champions! Barça are on a mission and their goal is to get to Cologne once again. GOG are bravely battling and started well and there was still one goal in it after 11 minutes (7:6 for Barça), but the difference in quality is showing.
GOG's Emil Madsen, though, is the leading scorer so far with five goals.
Of course, everything but a win tonight for Barça would be a surprise. They have played GOG 10 times in the past, losing only once, but that is more than 15 years ago. Anyway, the last time played each other was in 2009, so those stats are not so relevant...
... what matters are the happenings on the court in Denmark tonight, where Barça have just stretched their lead to 17:12 thanks to a Melvyn Richardson penalty.
Team timeout GOG. They are down 12:9 after 16 minutes, despite five goals already from top scorer Emil Madsen, but don't want Barça to run away further now.
Barça not in for a surprise so far. They lead GOG by three (9:6) after the opening 12 minutes, but are aware of the Danish shooting power.
Hardly time to catch your breath because, last but certainly not least in this first quarter-final leg, we see titleholders Barça visiting GOG. Can the Danish dynamite explode and cause an upset?
Watch the game live on EHFTV!
Six goals in total, including three straight goals in the closing stages of this MOTW: Yehia Elderaa has been instrumental for Veszprém in their draw with Kielce tonight and he is the Player of the Match:
An exciting MOTW, with two teams playing to win but in the end settling for a draw. Here are the first reactions from Veszprém's Nedim Remili and Kielce's Alex Dujshebaev:
We always want a better result, but this is just the first leg of the quarter-final. The most important now is to go to Kielce and try to win this game and go to the semi-final, that's it. It is always fun to play against my former teammates. I know them and I am happy to play against them because they are good. It is just happiness to play the quarter-final of the Champions League – it is a previlige, a lot of people want to play this kind of game and we are the lucky ones to play it.
It is a good result for both teams. It is deserved for both teams, we made a great match. In the end they equalised, but this is just the first leg. Even if we had won by five, six, or they had won by five, six, it is still only the first leg. Veszprém are a great team, after the break we maybe made a few mistakes to give them the chance to score on the fast break.
20:23 RESULT | MOTW Veszprém vs Kielce 29:29 (13:16)
An entertaining MOTW ends with a deserved draw, after both teams have 'won' one half 16:13. Kielce have been four up early on, Veszprém have led by three in the second, so this result will be OK for both teams.
Kielce had their hopes for a slim one-goal advantage dashed by Rasmus Lauge's buzzer beater. But either way: all is still open for the return in Kielce next Thursday.
Closing seconds, 28:28... Kielce's Talant Dujshebaev calls his last timeout. Can they take an advantage to Poland for the decisive second leg next week?
Wow, two consecutive strikes from Alex Dujshebaev to put Kielce two up again: 28:26.
The clock is ticking: 150 seconds left in this MOTW...
Can Veszprém 'steal' the win tonight? They have gone three up briefly (23:20) but Kielce are already back level (24:24) with nine minutes left. This is really anybody's game now.
45 minutes, 41 seconds into MOTW and finally Veszprém are in the lead for the very first time. Who else than former Kielce player Manuel Strlek nets for 21:20?
Andreas Wolff clearly led the goalkeeper battle in the first half, but tables have turned and Rodrigo Corrales has found his stride. Veszprém and Kielce are back level again!
Veszprém start pretty upbeat into this second half, quickly reducing the gap from three to one again, as they Kielce for the first five minutes. Game on!
The last time Veszprém trailed Kielce at half-time in a home match was in their group phase encounter in November 2019. Kielce were up 15:13 then... but Veszprém would win in the end, 28:24.
So, still all to play for in the second half of MOTW tonight!
Veszprém and Kielce share so many EHF Champions League memories. Great to see Arpad Sterbik and Talant Dujshebaev sharing a proper laugh as well:
19:23 HALF-TIME | MOTW Veszprém vs Kielce 13:16
Entertaining first half in the Veszprém Arena! Veszprém all over the place in the opening stages – and 0:4 and 1:5 down – but working their way back to within one, before Kielce turn out the cleverer team and widening the gap to three again thanks to an empty-netter from Dani Dujshebaev just before the break.
Veszprém will want to come out of the dressing rooms all guns blazing.
Quick look at the goalkeepers' stats so far. Rodrigo Corrales didn't stop much in the early minutes but has vastly improved since; Andreas Wolff on 41 per cent says it all...
Well done Veszprém, who have slightly clawed their way back into this MOTW after that disastrous start. Only one goal in it at the moment: 10:9 to Kielce.
By the way: the first two Veszprém goals have come from recent Kielce player Nedim Remili:
Dream start for Kielce in MOTW, and Andreas Wolff is already at it in the opening minutes:
Worrying faces on the Veszprém bench already... Kielce storm into a 5:1 lead in the Veszprém Arena in less than six minutes in this MOTW. Still very early, but what a start this is for the visitors from Poland!
Only 10 minutes to go until the big match throws off: MOTW Veszprém vs Kielce, bring it on!
And his counterpart, Kielce's Talant Dujshebaev?
"I won't say anything. I will see you after the warmup."
So, what does Veszprém head coach Momir Ilic expect from MOTW?
"What will decide? One moment, one save from the goalkeeper, one shot, one lost ball or one stolen ball and that is why we love handball."
Hard to argue with that!
Even though nothing will be decided yet – that will only happen in the second leg next week – both teams are eager to get the most out of their confrontation in MOTW tonight. Veszprém left wing Manuel Strlek, who won the EHF Champions League with Kielce against Veszprém in 2016 before joining the Hungarian side two years later, explains the importance in this feature from EHF journalist Danijela Vekić:
What a match to start the evening with: Veszprém against Kielce could easily be the final – in fact, it was the final seven years ago, with Kielce lifting the trophy on that thrilling night in Cologne in 2016.
Apropos Cologne, only one of the those two giants will make it to the LANXESS arena this year. So hard to predict who is going to advance, since the teams have a rich and pretty balanced history of European cup duels. Since that final in 2016, they have met each other 10 (!) more times:
Key to the Match of the Week tonight could well be defence - it's Veszprém's strength, as Julian Rux revealed in his latest Stats Counter piece for us. It's well worth a read to find out what the two teams' performances over the season tell us about what might happen later on.
Good afternoon and welcome back to the Machineseeker EHF Champions League quarter-finals live blog!
Last night Orlen Wisla Plock mounted a great comeback to secure a draw against SC Magdeburg, while Paris Saint-Germain looked strong in defeating THW Kiel in Kiel by four goals.
Today's action begins at 18:45 CEST, in two hours' time, when Telekom Veszprém and Barlinek Industria Kielce meet in Hungary. Last year both made it to Cologne; this year, only one will.
Wednesday 10 May
So that's the first day of Machineseeker EHF Champions League quarter-final action done - don't forget tomorrow we have the Match of the Week between Veszprém and Kielce at 18:45 CEST, followed by GOG vs Barça at 20:45 CEST.
Click here for tonight's highlights on YouTube, and join us again tomorrow for more fantastic handball action.
As usual, our match reviews are a great way of catching up on what happened in tonight's games - so here you go ...
Fresh from the court, here's what stars Luc Steins and Sander Sagosen had to say about that game.
Paris is a strong team, they come with a lot of class today. We had big problems first half in scoring goals, in the second half it came a little bit easier but then they also scored a lot of easy goals as well. It’s half-time now, we have to continue the work.
The last three years we played against each other in the quarter-finals so we know each other really well, and it was a really special game every time to play here in Kiel with an audience who is really pushing the Kiel team. We knew that it was a hard game but we survived good.
22:26 | FULL-TIME
THW KIEL 27:31 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN HANDBALL
As the pace picked up in the second half and the mistakes crept in, it proved more costly for Kiel - despite a very good Niklas Landin. Kiel travel to Paris next week with four goals to try and make up. In recent times they have never beaten PSG by that much at home.
Sander Sagosen showed he is back on form with nine goals (from 15 shots). For PSG, Dainis Kristopans, Ferran Sole and Elohim Prandi all scored six.
And now a third suspension and a red card for Hendrik Pekeler for pushing Luc Steins. PSG lead 30:27 and there's just over a minute to go.
It hasn't quite gone to the script for Kiel since this moment, but this is a good save.
Dainis Kristopans receives his third suspension in the game and is off. He basically ran straight into Niklas Landin after a particularly aggressive shot. The big Latvian has put in a shift though, scoring six goals from six shots and adding two assists and a block; if PSG hold on for the win it's thanks in no small part to Kristopans.
PSG have regained the lead and extended it to three goals. They haven't beaten Kiel at home since September 2017, back in that season's group phase. Several Paris players, including Elohim Prandi, are really on form.
Approaching 14 minutes, and with Dainis Kristopans suspended for a foul on Domagoj Duvnjak, a Dominik Mathé shot is saved and Rune Dahmke picks up the rebound and scores into the empty PSG net. It's a level game! The crowd go suitably wild, and Raul Gonzalez calls a timeout.
Filip Jicha uses another timeout. PSG remain just in control, with a 19:16 lead, but there's loads of time for Kiel to catch up if they increase the efficiency of their attack and get past Jannick Green. Niklas Landin is starting to really up his game now too.
Six minutes into the half and Kiel have not scored a single goal. Everything has been blocked, saved or simply missed. The home team are back into a seven-on-six attack.
Kiel had a good start to the half, with Niklas Landin making an outrageously good save of a Luc Steins shot - but two PSG goals then extend the visitors' lead to 15:12. And Patrick Wiencek is suspended for fouling Elohim Prandi.
Time for Kiel to really dig in and step up in attack.
Petar Nenadic seems to be fitting pretty well into the PSG squad after his transfer from Veszprém - here's his first Champions League goal for his new team.
21:26 | HALF-TIME
THW KIEL 12:13 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN HANDBALL
A Dainis Kristopans goal is swiftly followed by a Magnus Landin goal as the pace picks up just before the end of the half. Raul Gonzalez uses a timeout with 15 seconds to go and Kamil Syprzak scores; Filip Jicha follows suit to try and equalise before the buzzer - but Jannick Green saves Sander Sagosen's shot.
So far the two goalkeepers have been dictating the pace. Green has made seven saves (38.9 per cent) and Niklas Landin six (33.3 per cent). Sagosen is top scorer with four goals, but that's only half of his attempts. Kristopans, with three from three, is looking dangerous - will Kiel try and stop him in the second half?
So why are PSG leading Kiel by only nine goals to eight after 24 minutes? Well, because of Jannick Green and Niklas Landin, who are both stopping an incredible number of goals.
After one low-scoring match we have another on our hands - 18 minutes in, it's 7:7 after Niclas Ekberg nets a penalty for Kiel.
The importance of Niklas Landin to Kiel is well-known, but so far it's PSG goalkeeper Jannick Green who's having a better day. He's made three saves in a row, stopping Patrick Wiencek, Sander Sagosen and Miha Zarabec.
It's 3:3 and Landin slowly starts to find his form, catching the last shot by Elohim Prandi and stepping off as Kiel go seven-on-six.
Thirty seconds in and Kiel get on the scoreboard thanks to Miha Zarabec; just over a minute later Zarabec scores again and the hosts have a 2:0 lead.
Ready for more handball? It's time for THW Kiel vs Paris Saint-Germain!
In the past 20 years these two sides have met 17 times in European club competitions. Kiel have won nine games, Paris six, and there have ben two draws. In the last encounter, the second leg of the 2022 quarter-finals, Kiel won 33:32 at home and booked their EHF FINAL4 spot by a single goal on aggregate. It ought to be as close again in front of a packed Wunderino-Arena.
Watch live on EHFTV, or on your local TV station.
This clever penalty by Tin Lucin sparked Plock's comeback. It wasn't Lucin's best game, but he proved his worth here.
20:26 | FULL-TIME
ORLEN WISLA PLOCK 22:22 SC MAGDEBURG
That's the lowest combined score for both Plock and Magdeburg this season, and they both matched their lowest individual scores too. Plock found something in the closing minutes and were able to equalise - although Magdeburg then took a timeout the resulting attack was scrappy and Michael Damgaard's long-range shot happened after he landed. Bennet Wiegert was unhappy, earned himself a two-minute suspension, and gave Plock an opportunity to win.
But Sergei Kosorotov's last shot was stopped by Mike Jensen, who has been extremely good, and that's it. Somehow Plock have come out of the game level, despite trailing by four or five goals for much of the match.
Michael Damgaard has led the way for Magdeburg in one of his most impactful games this season, with five goals including this one.
We've had a couple of timeouts. In Magdeburg's, there were lots of instructions from Bennet Wiegert for Kay Smits. Now Xavi Sabate takes a timeout. He's very calm and doesn't take up too much time, showing his players the moves he wants them to make and sending them off to do it. But the attack fails, because it's that sort of game, and Plock are back defending another Magdeburg possession.
A couple of turnovers and more success in defence, and suddenly it's a two-goal game - Magdeburg lead 18:16.
Owch ... Lucas Meister shoots rather blindly and the ball ricochets off Ignacio Biosca's head. He heads off court for a sit-down and Marcel Jastrzebski comes on, but only briefly as Biosca is soon back on court. It's 13:17.
Xavi Sabate gestures fiercely; Plock are now trailing 12:16, but at least are scoring, and have stepped up their defence.
The first five minutes back are all going Magdeburg's way - they've scored twice, and Plock have had no success.
Don't forget to pop over to Twitch and join the chat in the watch-along there, and make your predictions for the second half ... oh, and what are your favourite snacks to fuel your handball watching?
Before the second half gets going, check out this excellent Ignacio Biosca save. He needs a few more along the same lines if Plock want to stay close to Magdeburg ahead of the second leg.
19:27 | HALF-TIME
ORLEN WISLA PLOCK 9:12 SC MAGDEBURG
This is a nervy, slow-paced game. Magdeburg are moving better than Plock, who seem content to largely pass the ball when in possession. The home side have bounced back a bit from their poor start, but Magdeburg are still more effective in attack and defence. Michael Damgaard is making his presence felt with a couple of good goals, as is Piotr Chrapkowski who gets a few slaps on the back from his teammates for his defensive work in the first half.
The goal timeline tells a tale of the way the game has unfolded so far.
We now have a clip of Philipp Weber's insane goal earlier on.
Plock are really back in this, closing up to 8:9 and with Ignacio Biosca getting into his stride.
Niko Mindegia's goal has given Plock a new drive and suddenly they're back to 5:7, playing seven-on-six - which backfires when the ball is turned over and passed to Kay Smits to score into the empty net.
Here's some early Mike Jensen saves too to enjoy.
Magdeburg are not giving Plock many chances and move out to a 7:2 lead before Niko Mindegia scores their first goal in 10 minutes.
Philipp Weber scores a bonkers goal, shooting and rolling at the same time, and Magdeburg go 5:2 up. Their defence is keeping Plock out and Xavi Sabate calls a timeout.
"The difference is shooting, but don't shoot fast," says Sabate, reminding his team it's still early days and they can find a solution.
Just under three minutes in and Magdeburg have a 2:1 lead. The fans are on their feet - what an atmosphere!
Another watch option is to head to our Twitch channel, where Chris O'Reilly and Martin Vilstrup are about to do a watch-along of Plock vs Magdeburg.
This is your 10-minute warning before throw off! Pick your channel to follow and settle down.
Back in Plock, coaches Xavi Sabate and Bennet Wiegert have named strong squads for this important clash. Here's Plock's, and you can find Magdeburg's line-up on our match details page (which is an essential follow in any case for everything which happens on court). Look out for the two sides' top scorers Tin Lucin and Gisli Kristjansson.
The game is sold out so the atmosphere should be electric.
Speaking of Kiel vs PSG, Paris have made a great hype video - give it a watch.
The second match on today at 20:45 CEST is a classic - Kiel vs Paris Saint-Germain. They're familiar foes, meeting in the quarter-finals for the third year running.
To make the game more important, it's Kiel's 100th anniversary this year. And in their 25th appearance in the EHF Champions League, and with key players including Sander Sagosen leaving at the end of the season, they will not want to go out with a quarter-final loss. EHF journalist Björn Pazen has looked at Kiel's history ahead of today's game.
We've got under an hour before throw-off in Plock where the hosts, debutants at this stage of the competition, will host SC Magdeburg. The two have in fact faced each other before in a high-stakes match - Magdeburg beat Plock in 2021 in the semi-finals of the EHF European League men. But this is a very different game today, with the Plock fans behind their team. If the Polish side can take a first-leg victory they will be in a much stronger position next week.
Key to their chances is goalkeeper Ignacio Biosca, who swapped with Kristian Pilipovic earlier this season. Biosca moved from Kadetten Schaffhausen and Pilipovic went the other way - and it's been a good move for the Spaniard, who played a big part in getting Plock to this point. Read more in our feature!
It's the moment you've all been waiting for: the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23 quarter-finals!
This week and next will see eight thrilling matches as the last eight teams in the competition battle it out for a place in the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 in Cologne in June. And we have everything - a rematch of the last two quarter-finals between Kiel and Paris Saint-Germain; a rematch of last year's semi-final between Veszprém and Kielce; and two games pitching debutant sides against former champions.
What better way to begin the coverage than a teaser of the action ahead? Watch this video, and read the round preview for everything you need to know.