Race to the quarter-final going down to the wire
UPDATE: This article has been updated on Friday 18 February at 15:45 CET with the cancellation of the match between Krasnodar and Drammen on Saturday.
Five ties in the EHF European Cup Men 2021/22 Last 16 are still wide-open heading into the decisive second leg this weekend.
After those matches in the first leg ended with a difference of four goals or less, the teams involved have everything to play for when the line-up for the quarter-final will be determined.
Among the close ties is the only national derby in the Last 16, in Russia: HC Victor defeated SGAU-Saratov 30:27 last week and they hope to finish the job in the home leg in Stavropol on Sunday.
- the third Russian team in the Last 16, SKIF Krasnodar, were set to meet Drammen HK on Saturday, but this match will not be played; further information will be communicated by the EHF once it is available; Drammen had won the first leg in Norway 37:23
- another Norwegian team Naerbo IL have one foot in the quarter-final after their 39:26 home win against CSM Foscani 2007, with the return leg scheduled in Romania on Saturday
- another Romanian side, CS Minaur Baia Mare, have a much better chance of progressing when they play in Greece on Saturday after winning the first leg against A.C. PAOK at home by 11 goals: 32:21
- the third team from Romania, 2018 Challenge Cup winners AHC Potaissa Turda, will defend a one-goal lead (31:30) when travelling to Sweden to face Alingsås HK on Sunday
- on Saturday, Switzerland’s HSC Suhr Aarau will try to finish the job at home against HCB Karvina (CZE) after their 27:23 away win last week
- the other Czech side, Talent tym Plzenskeho kraje, will host Handball Esch on Sunday following their 34:30 win in Luxembourg
Former Challenge Cup champions to meet in Minsk
Since the draw was made in December, the tie between the two former EHF Challenge Cup winners IFK Skövde HK and SKA Minsk has been seen as one of the highlights of the Last 16. And the first leg in Sweden lived up to that billing last weekend as the teams played to a 26:26 draw.
Minsk have the home right in the second leg on Sunday. While they hope to make the step into the quarter-final, visitors Skövde might arrive in Belarus boasted by the fact that several key players who missed the first leg are now back with the team.