An outstanding Barça series and a new goal record

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EHF / Björn Pazen

On 22 March, the play-offs of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League will throw off with four pairings, including two involving teams from the same country. Four teams have already qualified for the quarter-finals including one newcomer.

Four former champions are among the 12 teams which qualified for the knock-out stage and are still in the race for the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. Here is all you need to know from the group phase and for the rest of the competition.

0 teams won all matches and 0 teams lost all matches

1 team remained unbeaten in the group phase: defending champions Barça

1 club was among the four teams which qualified straight for the quarter-finals for the first time: SC Magdeburg. Industria Kielce and Barça skipped the play-offs last season, Paris-Saint Germain have done so several times before

1 group match was attended by more than 10,000 fans: 10,322 spectators watched Nantes lose 33:37 to Barça at home, while 9,421 fans saw Kiel draw 30:30 with Barça

2 play-off duels will be played with clubs from the same nation: GOG vs Aalborg Håndbold is a re-match of the Danish league finals 2022, won by GOG; and OTP Bank-Pick Szeged vs Telekom Veszprém HC replays the Hungarian League final 2022, which Szeged won. There will be no national derbies in the quarter-finals

2 players are still in the race for their fifth Champions League title: Aitor Ariño and Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, both Barca

4 former or current EHF Champions League champions representing 16 trophies are still part of the knock-out stage: Barcelona (10), Kiel (four), Magdeburg and Kielce (one each)

4 former EHF Champions League top scorers are still part of the competition: Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce, 2018/19), Mikkel Hansen (Paris, 2011/12 and 2015/16, now Aalborg), Nikola Karabatic (Kiel, 2006/07, now PSG) and Aleix Gómez (Barça, 2021/22). Filip Jicha (2008/09 and 2009/10) is Kiel’s coach, Momir Ilic (2013/14, 2014/15) is Veszprém’s coach

4 coaches of the 12 teams still in competition have won the EHF Champions League as coaches: Carlos Ortega (Barça, with Barça), Talant Dujshebaev (Kielce, with Ciudad Real and Kielce), Filip Jicha (Kiel, with Kiel), Xavi Pascual (C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti, with Barça), and Raul Gonzalez (PSG, with Vardar).

4 coaches of the 12 teams still in the competition have won the EHF Champions League as players: Momir Ilic (Veszprém) and Filip Jicha (Kiel) won the trophy together in 2010 and 2012 with Kiel, Carlos Ortega (Barça) won the trophy six times with Barça, and Bennet Wiegert (Magdeburg) won with Magdeburg

4 former or current IHF World Handball Players of the Year are playing this season: Nikola Karabatic (PSG, 2007, 2014, 2016), Mikkel Hansen (Aalborg, 2011, 2015, 2018), Domagoj Duvnjak (Kiel, 2013) and Niklas Landin (Kiel, 2019, 2021). Two coaches were previously IHF Players of the Year: Talant Dujshebaev (Kielce) and Filip Jicha (Kiel)

4 participants of the EHF FINAL4 2022 are still part of the competition: Barça, Kielce, Kiel and Veszprém

4 times only in 13 years have the defending champions made it to Cologne: Barça in 2012 and 2022, Kiel in 2013 and Vardar in 2018. Last season, Barça became the first team to defend their trophy in Cologne

4 people won the EHF Champions League as a player and a coach: Talant Dujshebaev, Roberto Parrondo, Filip Jicha and Carlos Ortega. Dujshebaev won the competition in 1994 playing for Santander, and in 2006, 2008 and 2009 as Ciudad Real coach, before steering Kielce to their first trophy in 2016. Parrondo was a player for Ciudad Real squad in 2008 and 2010, then led Vardar to the trophy in 2019. Filip Jicha won the trophy as a player in 2010 and 2012 and as a coach in 2020, all with Kiel. Jicha is the only one to win as player and as a coach at Cologne. Finally, six-time winner Ortega steered his former club Barça to the 2022 trophy as their coach

5 group matches ended with a margin of 10 or more goals.

6 countries are represented by the previous 29 EHF Champions League champions: Spain (16 titles), Germany (seven), France (two), North Macedonia (two), Poland and Slovenia (one each)

7 different nations are represented by the 12 clubs still in competition: France, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Denmark by two clubs, Spain and Romania by one. Last season, nine nations were involved at this stage. North Macedonia, Norway and Portugal are out, Romania is in

7 of the 12 teams still in competition were part of the knock-out stage of the 2021/22 season: Barça, Kielce, Kiel, Veszprém, Szeged, PSG and Aalborg

7 of the 12 teams still in competition have already been part of the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne: Barça, Aalborg, Paris, Kiel, Veszprém, Kielce and Nantes

8 of 13 winners of the previous EHF FINAL4 are still part of the competition: Barça (four), Kiel (three), Kielce (one). Hamburg, Flensburg, Montpellier and Vardar (two) are missing

10 group matches ended in draws

10 times (1995-2000, 2011, 2015, 2021, 2022) Barcelona have won the EHF Champions League, making them record winners. They also won the forerunner competition, the Champions Cup, once

16 knock-out matches will take place before the participants of the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 are confirmed – eight both in the play-offs and in the quarter-finals

16 goals was the biggest margin in the group phase, when Barça won 46:30 at Elverum, ahead of Szeged’s biggest ever home defeat in the competition – losing by 12 to Aalborg (29:41)

20 times, Aron Pálmarsson has played at the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne – for Kiel, Veszprém and Barça – making him the record-holder. He could still add to the total with Aalborg

22 times in the 112 group matches, 70 or more goals were scored

23 unbeaten Champions League matches in a row (21 victories, two draws) is the current series of defending champions Barça – their last defeat was 27:29 on 22 November 2021 at Kielce

27 points in 14 matches was the – almost perfect – outcome of Barça in the group phase with 13 wins and a draw against Kiel. Second ranked are PSG with 24 points ahead of Kielce (22)

34 of the 122 group matches were attended by 5,000 or more fans

49 goals was the lowest combined score in a group match, when Plock beat Magdeburg 25:24

62 group matches were won by the home teams, 40 by the visitors

64 times, 60 or more goals were scored in the 112 group matches

78 goals was the highest combined score in the group phase, when Nantes won 42:36 at Elverum, ahead of 77 goals in the matches Kielce vs Kiel (40:37), PSG vs GOG (41:36) and Magdeburg vs Porto (41:36)

+80 is the final goal difference of Barça after 14 matches ahead of PSG (+53) and Kielce (+38)

88 goals were scored by Aleks Vlah (Celje) to be top scorer of the group phase. The Slovenian, who is now out of the competition, leads two Polish players: Kamil Syprzak (PSG) and Arkadiusz Moryto (Kielce), both on 83 goals.

280 victories in 360 EHF Champions League matches (besides 23 draws and 61 defeats) were taken by Barcelona so far to top the all-time Champions League table

404 goals were conceded by Barça to have the best defence ahead of Plock (412) and Magdeburg (419)

492 goals were scored by PSG to have the best attack ahead of Barça (484) and Nantes (478)

7,008 goals were scored in the group phase, a new record: 3,440 in group A and 3,568 in group B.

Top 3 of the group phase

27: Barça
24: PSG
22: Kielce

492 goals: PSG
484 goals: Barça
478 goals: Nantes

404 goals conceded: Barça
412 goals conceded: Plock
419 goals conceded: Magdeburg

Goal difference
+80: Barça
+53: PSG
+38: Kielce

Highest-scoring matches
78 goals: Elverum vs Nantes (36:42)
77 goals: PSG vs GOG (41:36)
77 goals: Magdeburg vs Porto (41:36)

Lowest-scoring matches
49 goals: Plock vs Magdeburg (25:24)
50 goals: Plock vs Porto (27:23)
51 goals: Magdeburg vs PSG (21:29)

Biggest margins
+16 goals: Elverum vs Barça (30:46)
+12 goals: Szeged vs Aalborg (29:41)
+11 goals: Nantes vs Elverum (41:30)

Top scorer:
88 goals: Aleks Vlah (Celje)
83 goals: Kamil Syprzak (PSG)
83 goals: Arkadiusz Moryto (Kielce)

Top scorer still in competition
83 goals: Kamil Syprzak (PSG)
83 goals: Arkadiusz Moryto (Kielce)
77 goals: Emil Madsen (GOG)

10,322: Nantes vs Barça
9,421: Kiel vs Barça
8,000: Szeged vs Barça

Photos © Patryk Ptak, OTP Bank-PICK Szeged, Laurene Valroff

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