Dramatic comebacks end European League qualification on a high
There was plenty of drama in the second leg of the qualification phase 2 of the EHF European League Men, as the last 12 available berths for the group stage were claimed.
The scrapping of the away-goal rule, which means that tied teams go directly to penalties, was in effect for the first time. Kolstad Handball missed out on a group phase berth, after being eliminated on penalties by Bidasoa Irun, despite mustering a solid comeback to cancel the first leg deficit.
RK Nexe, FTC and Fejer B.A.L-Veszprem also turned their matches around after conceding losses in the first leg, sealing their group phase berths in style.
- the most dramatic game was the tie between Kolstad Handball and Bidasoa Irun, with the Norwegian side cancelling the three-goal loss from the first leg, only to go out at penalties, when Magnus Langeland missed the sixth shot, with Irun advancing to the group phase
- FTC clinched a dramatic group phase berth with an aggregate 66:64 win against CSA Steaua Bucuresti, with the Romanian side having led by as many as seven goals in the first leg and as many as three goals in the second leg
- boosted by a nine-goal game from left-back Janos Stranigg, Fejer B.A.L-Veszprem mounted an impressive comeback, as they sealed a 56:54 aggregate win against Chambery after the French side boasted a five-goal lead on aggregate at half-time in the second leg
- after 12 consecutive seasons where they failed to progress to the group phase in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League and the European League, Austrian side Alpla HC Hard finally qualified, with two wins and a 51:42 aggregate score against North Macedonian team HC Butel Skopje
- SG Flensburg-Handewitt (76 goals), Skanderborg-Aarhus (67 goals) and FTC (66 goals) were the teams which scored the most goals over the two legs, while Danish back Nikolaj Øris Nielsen was the sole player to score in double digits this evening, scoring 10 goals for Bjerringbro-Silkeborg against Sporting CP
- Flensburg also recorded the largest aggregate win, 27 goals, with six games being decided by three goals or less, underlining the competitive nature of the competition
Fantastic comebacks highlight tumultuous second legs
The evening featured a roller-coaster of emotions, with plenty of sides mounting gutsy comebacks to seal their place in the group phase. There were three big comebacks and another one falling short on penalties.
Last season’s EHF Finals Men participant, RK Nexe recorded the biggest, with the Croatian side erasing a six-goal loss against KS Azoty-Pulawy SA by taking an eight-goal win, after Fahrudin Melic and Luka Moslavac combined for 17 goals.
Seven teams - Flensburg, Skanderborg-Aarhus, Benidorm, Alpla HC Hard, Fejer-B.A.L. Veszprem, FTC, Aguas Santas - will make their debut in the group phase in the EHF European League Men.
Portugal, Germany, Spain, and Hungary are the countries which will have three teams in the group phase, after two sides from each of these countries progress.
It was a dramatic evening for the two Hungarian sides – Fejer B.A.L.-Veszprem and FTC - who sealed comebacks to proceed against Chambery and CSA Steaua Bucuresti.
France and Denmark will line up two teams in the competition, while Austria, Iceland, North Macedonia, Croatia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine will each have one team, as the 24-team card is now complete.
EHF European League Men 2022/23 qualification round 2, leg 2:
Fejer B.A.L-Veszprem (HUN) vs Chambery Savoie Mont Blanc Handball (FRA) 31:25 (56:54 on aggregate)
GC Amicitia Zurich (SUI) vs TM Benidorm (ESP) 34:30 (58:64 on aggregate)
TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER) 33:31 (57:59 on aggregate)
FTC (HUN) vs CSA Steaua Bucuresti (ROU) 35:31 (66:64 on aggregate)
Skanderborg-Aarhus (DEN) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE) 35:33 (67:64 on aggregate)
HC Butel Skopje (MKD) vs Alpla HC Hard (AUT) 21:25 (42:51 on aggregate)
Kolstad Handball (NOR) vs Bidasoa Irun (ESP) 28:25 (55:55 on aggregate) – Bidasoa Irun win 6:5 on penalties
Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) vs Sporting CP (POR) 33:30 (55:61 on aggregate)
SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs MMTS Kwidzyn (POL) 37:24 (76:49 on aggregate)
Montpellier HB (FRA) vs IK Sävehof (SWE) 30:26 (54:50 on aggregate)
Aguas Santas Milaneza (POR) vs Belenenses (POR) 34:22 (57:42 on aggregate)
RK Nexe (CRO) vs KS Azoty-Pulawy SA (POL) 35:27 (61:59 on aggregate)