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EHF Champions League

Battle of the Spanish coaches as Barça face PSG

EHF / Björn Pazen

In their eighth appearance at the VELUX EHF FINAL4, Barça will play their first ever match against Paris Saint-Germain HB in Cologne. A win for the Catalans would send the eight-times EHF Champions League winners through to their 12th final, while PSG would reach their second final with a victory.

Whatever happens, a Spanish coach will certainly feature in the final – either Xavi Pascual, who won with Barcelona in 2011 and 2015, or PSG’s Raul Gonzalez, who led Vardar to the trophy in 2017.

SEMI-FINAL 1

Barça (ESP) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Monday 28 December, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Barça are record EHF Champions League winners with eight trophies, including two in Cologne (2011 and 2015) - and could become the first team to win the trophy for a third time at the VELUX EHF FINAL4
  • PSG have never won the EHF Champions League. They were runners-up to Vardar in 2017
  • Barça have seven EHF Champions League winners in their squad: Aitor Arino, Raul Entrerrios, Gonzalo Perez des Vargas, Cedric Sorhaindo (all with Barcelona in 2011 and 2015), Aron Palmarsson (Kiel 2010, 2012), Ludovic Fabregas (Montpellier 2018) and Luka Cindric (Vardar 2017)
  • PSG’s former winners include Viran Morros (Ciudad Real in 2008 and 2009 and Barça in 2015), Vincent Gerard (Montpellier, 2018) and Dainis Kristopans (Vardar, 2019)
  • Barça have won five of six Champions League duels against Paris so far; this is Barça’s 16th semi-final compared to four for PSG
  • Barça finished the 2019/20 season top of group A with 13 victories, after opening with defeat to Szeged, and an impressive goal difference of +105
  • PSG won 11 matches in the 2019/20 season, losing twice to Barça and once to Szeged, and ended second in group A with a +55 goal difference
  • PSG and former Barça star Nikola Karabatic is out since October after a serious knee injury in a French league match. He was replaced by Dutch player Luc Steins, who joined from Toulouse and is eligible to play in Cologne
  • Barça’s Danish left wing Casper Mortensen is out after meniscus surgery and centre back Aron Palmarsson is in doubt with a patellar tendon injury
  • if he plays, Palmarsson will become the first player to participate at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 nine times – with Kiel, Veszprém and Barcelona

Barça centre back and team captain Raul Entrerrios: “We have been waiting for this FINAL4 for many months, with a lot of uncertainty. Now that it is here, we want to compete. We come in a good line and that is important, but we are aware that any of the four teams can win. If we act as a team, just like we are doing this season, we have a lot to say. I hope everything goes well for us and we return home with the title.”

PSG right wing Mathieu Grebille: “It is sport, so no matter what you may say before, you cannot guess what will happen. We will have to show at the time of the match that we are capable of winning. Barcelona are perhaps our most difficult opponent in this first part of the season. Anything is possible. In the end, the one who has given everything and made the fewest mistakes will have the chance to play for the title.”

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