20211027Lomzavivekielce Parissaintgermain (19)
EHF Champions League

Another clash of the titans in Paris

In group A, current leaders Montpellier aim to extend their winning series against Zagreb in round 9 of the EHF Champions League Men group phase. Two hunters, Aalborg and Szeged, duel in Denmark while the home sides Elverum (against Brest) and Kiel (against Vardar) are clear favourites.

Currently on a seven-game winning streak, Kielce visit Paris for Match of the Week on Thursday, a clash that will be another opportunity for the Polish side to assess their superiority in group B.

GROUP A

Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs Pick Szeged (HUN)
Wednesday 1 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both sides had won their round 7 matches last week: Aalborg beat Kiel 35:33, while Szeged took a 30:27 win in Skopje
  • Szeged beat Aalborg on home ground 31:28 (17:13) in the reverse fixture
  • Szeged have an unbeaten run of four matches, while Aalborg lost twice (against Szeged and THW) before their win last week
  • in seven matches against Szeged, Aalborg only took one victory, two of the last four duels ended in a draw
  • Aalborg’s current top scorer is Swede Felix Claar by 40 goals, Austrian new arrival Sebastian Frimmel struck 33 times for Szeged
  • In the Danish league, Aalborg tied in the top duel with GOG and remain second, while Szeged still top the ranking in Hungary after winning 41:32 against Balatonfüred
I think we were the better team at the away game against Szeged but we did not manage to close the game. This time we want revenge in a nearly sold-out arena at home.
Sebastian Barthold
Aalborg left wing

Elverum Handball (NOR) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Wednesday 1 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • it is a duel between two teams in need of a win - Elverum lost both matches against Montpellier after a run of four unbeaten matches, while Brest are the only one of 16 teams without a victory
  • Elverum are fifth ranked by eight points, while Brest are bottom by only one point from the draw against Zagreb
  • thanks to nine goals of their overall top scorer Tobias Grøndahl (46 in total), Elverum won the reverse fixture 30:27
  • Brest’s best scorer is Stanislav Kasparek with 34 goals on his tally
  • Meshkov were 2020/21 quarter-finalists for the first time, but have yet to win since beating Zaporozhye in last season’s play-off
  • "It will be a very difficult match. We must do everything perfectly and play at the level we played at in Belarus, then we will have a chance to win the match," says Tobias Grøndahl.

Montpellier HB (FRA) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Thursday 2 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Montpellier have won the last six group matches - including last week’s 39:32 against Elverum - and top the table on 13 points
  • Zagreb ended a 641-day wait for a victory in the EHF Champions League with the 31:24 last week against Brest and have four points on their account
  • in their previous meeting, Montpellier turned a 13:12 halftime deficit into a 25:22 victory, mainly thanks to seven goals from Julien Bos
  • in total, Montpellier won the last four matches against Zagreb, lost the first two and tied in the third one
  • Bos is Montpellier’s top scorer with 43 goals, including 34 in the last five matches, while Ivan Cupic has scored 40 times for Zagreb
  • Montpellier’s Croatian goalkeeper Marin Sego will face his former club
  • Montpellier won 32:29 against European league participants Nimes on Saturday but are still in eighth position, Zagreb won 27:22 in Porec

THW Kiel (GER) vs HC Vardar 1961 (MKD)
Thursday 2 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after their 35:33 loss at Aalborg last week, Kiel are third in the table with 11 points, Vardar are sixth ranked on five points
  • Kiel had won the previous meeting in Skopje 29:26 after a 13:10 half-time deficit
  • the current top scorer of the EHF Champions League - Timur Dibirov (52 goals) and the third ranked Niklas Ekberg (49) will duel
  • both clubs combine six EHF Champions League trophies, Kiel won four times (2007, 2010, 2012 and 2020), Vardar twice (2017 and 2019)
  • in total, THW have won seven from nine matches against Vardar, but were eliminated by the Macedonian side in the 2019 quarter-finals
  • Kiel head coach Filip Jicha: "We won two important points in the Bundesliga on Sunday. And now we have to fight for two really important points in the EHF Champions League on Thursday. For reaching this goal we have to be 100 percent concentrated and focused on the match because Vardar have the quality to beat every opponent in this exciting and balanced group."

GROUP B

HC Motor (UKR) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Wednesday 1 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Flensburg won the first encounter at home in round 6, 34:27. That victory was the first of their current three-game winning streak
  • overall, Flensburg have won three of the five games the two sides played against each other in European competitions
  • Motor are currently sixth in the group, with six points, just one point behind Flensburg
  • last time Motor and Flensburg met in Ukraine, in the 2018/19 group phase, resulted in a victory for Zaporozhye, 28:26
  • Flensburg will be missing Magnus Rød, Franz Semper and Gøran Johannessen for this game, as the three players are currently suffering from injuries

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU)
Thursday 2 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • in the first game between the two teams this season, Dinamo took the two points at home (31:29)
  • Veszprém are currently second in the group, with ten points, while Dinamo are last, with four points
  • with 255 goals conceded, Dinamo have the second-worst defensive of the group phase
  • Veszprém’s top scorer, Gasper Marguc, has netted 42 times so far in the competition. That is four times more than Dinamo’s best scorer, Valentin Ghionea
  • this weekend, Veszprém beat Budakalasz in the Hungarian league (41:26). In the meantime, Dinamo took the two points at home against Suceava (31:24)

Barça (ESP) vs FC Porto (POR)
Thursday 2 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • in the first confrontations ever between the two sides in European competitions, the teams drew in Portugal three weeks ago (33:33)
  • Barça have not won any of their last three games, a first in the history of the Champions League group phase
  • Youssef Ben Ali, who replaced the injured Luis Frade in Barça, made his Champions League debut last week in Kielce, scoring two
  • Porto are currently the least efficient defence of the group phase, with 257 goals conceded
  • both teams remain undefeated leaders of their respective domestic competitions. This weekend, Barça beat Antequera (45:19), while Porto did not play in the Portuguese league

Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs Lomza Vive Kielce
Thursday 2 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Kielce have won their last seven games in the EHF Champions League. One of them was the first leg against Paris, which the Polish side won 38:33
  • this game will be the first opportunity for Dylan Nahi to pay a visit to his former club
  • the French left-winger is Kielce’s best scorer in the EHF Champions League, with 38 goals Mikkel Hansen netted 11 more for Paris so far
  • Paris are currently the best offence of the Champions League, with 271 goals scored across eight rounds, while Kielce are the third, with 262 goals
  • last weekend, Paris took the points in Limoges (33:30), winning their 11th straight game in the French league. Kielce enjoyed a similar fate at home against Zaglebie (38:24)
It will be a very big game against the group leader and especially against the fittest team in Europe right now. The first leg hurt us but we will use it to tackle this one in front of our supporters. We are keen to take our revenge. Kielce remains on seven straight wins, it is up to us to make sure that ends in front of our home crowd.
Adama Keita
PSG left wing

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