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Last 16 line-up takes shape in round 8

EHF / Danijela Vekić, Björn Pazen, Kevin Domas, Tiago Nogueira

The EHF European League Men 2021/22 group phase is nearing its completion as round 8 is scheduled for Tuesday.

With three rounds left, 10 of the participants in the Last 16 have already been confirmed, leaving six spots open to play for.

In group A, Füchse and Plock are through, and they can be followed by Toulouse, who only need one point at Winterthur, and even by Irun, if both Winterthur and Presov lose.

All four teams proceeding from group B are known, while group C have only one spot left, with the duel between Velenje and La Rioja potentially decisive.

Group D is the most wide-open, as only leaders Nimes are through with the three remaining spots yet to be decided.

GROUP A:

Füchse Berlin (GER) vs Bidasoa Irun (ESP)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • already qualified Füchse suffered their first loss of the group phase last week, at Toulouse
  • Füchse captain Paul Drux: “We want to keep going in our group to fight for the top place. We now lost the first time but there is no doubt for us that we are going to be successful in front of our home fans”
  • Irun are fourth with six points and will advance to the Last 16 if both Winterthur and Presov lose their matches on Tuesday
  • this match is the first duel in a European competition between the two teams
  • Füchse have not lost a European home match since a 21:26 defeat against Saint-Raphaël on 7 February 2018
  • in the Spanish league, third-ranked Irun lost 31:28 to Barça; Füchse are ranked fourth in the German Bundesliga

Tatran Presov (SVK) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Presov have lost all six matches since the 27:25 win in their group phase opener against Irun
  • Plock have already qualified for the Last 16 after winning six of their seven matches; their only defeat came against group leaders Füchse
  • Plock are ranked second in the Polish league behind Kielce and won their away match at Stal Mielec on Saturday: 37:25
  • Presov have only a slim chance of making the Last 16, and they need results from other teams go their way in order to qualify
  • Plock’s Russian left back Sergej Mark Kosorotov is among the top scorers of the competition, with 42 goals

Pfadi Winterthur (SUI) vs Fenix Toulouse Handball (FRA)
Tuesday 22 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Pfadi play for their last chance, currently on two points from a win over Presov
  • Toulouse beat Füchse last week (28:27) and need just one point in Winterthur to secure their place in the Last 16
  • if they do so, it would be the first time Toulouse reach the knockout stage of a European competition since 2014
  • Pfadi line player Rémi Leventoux: “It’s going to be a huge fight on Tuesday, they are in really good shape. We have to be ready for it. I will keep my personal feelings out of it – we have to concentrate on playing handball to win this game”
  • Toulouse are on a three-match winning streak and rank fourth in the French league; Pfadi remain second in Switzerland despite a 22:21 defeat in Zürich
  • both sides face for the first time in an official match
20220221 ELM Lemgo Quote
I expect a tough fight. Nantes are an absolute top team, with high individual quality and a lot of experience. We will have to be at the top of our game from the first second if we want to stand a chance.
Finn Zecher
TBV Lemgo Lippe goalkeeper

GROUP B

Cocks (FIN) vs GOG (DEN)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Cocks, on zero points, are out of the race for the Last 16; GOG, on 11 points, lead the group and have qualified for the next phase
  • GOG scored 46 goals to win the first confrontation between the two sides this season – their highest number of goals in a match this season
  • Cocks are the only team in the group phase without points so far
  • Cocks lost their third straight Finnish league game this weekend; GOG remain top of the Danish league following a win over Holstebro (32:30) last weekend

Chekhovskie medvedi (RUS) vs SL Benfica (POR)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after their loss to GOG last week, Chekhov have no chance to qualify for the Last 16; Benfica are tied with leaders GOG
  • Benfica won the first game between the two sides in round 2: 38:35
  • Chekhov lead the Russia league and won their 18th game against Akbuzat last weekend
  • Benfica won the high-profile clash with Porto in the domestic league a week ago and added another win over Braga (36:21) last Saturday

TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)
Tuesday 22 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Nantes are third with 10 points; two ahead of fourth-ranked Lemgo
  • Lemgo inflicted Nantes their only European defeat of the season in the first confrontation between the two teams, in round 2: 28:27
  • Bjarki Mar Elisson, Lemgo’s best scorer in the European League, is set to join Veszprém next summer
  • Lemgo lost their Bundesliga game last weekend against Bergischer HC (32:27); Nantes took both points against Chambéry in France (32:25)

GROUP C

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs RK Nexe (CRO)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams have already qualified for the Last 16; they are level in second place with 10 points each
  • in their first match, Nexe had a clear 39:31 win thanks to nine goals from Halil Jaganjac
  • Nexe defeated Vardar in the SEHA League and Gorica in the Croatian league last week; Sävehof are first in Sweden and overran Ystad by 35:22
  • Sävehof have lost once at home this season (against Magdeburg); Nexe have also won once in an away game (against PAUC)

PAUC Handball (FRA) vs SC Magdeburg (GER)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Magdeburg lead the group with 13 points after only dropping a point against La Rioja
  • PAUC are bottom of the group with one point; in the French league, they are ranked third after beating fellow EL contenders Nimes last weekend: 29:28
  • PAUC coach Thierry Anti: “It is just amazing that we haven’t won a match yet. I hope it will happen against one of the best clubs in Europe”
  • Magdeburg won the reverse fixture in Germany by 31:27
  • Kristján Örn Kristjánsson is PAUC’s best scorer in the group phase, with 36 goals; Dutch right back Kay Smits has netted 34 times for Magdeburg

RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs BM Logroño La Rioja (ESP)
Tuesday 22 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • La Rioja, who are fourth on five points, will book their Last 16 ticket if they beat Velenje, fifth on three points
  • any other result will delay the decision to the upcoming round(s)
  • Velenje left wing Tilen Sokolič: “This match is very important for our chance to advance from the group. La Rioja are a very good opponent and we expect a tough match from start to finish. With a good defence and our combinations in attack, we can achieve our goal”
  • La Rioja won the first meeting between the teams 31:26
  • La Rioja travel to Slovenia after narrow a 30:29 loss in the Spanish league against Balonmano Sinfin; Velenje defeated Urbanscape Loka and are ranked fourth in Slovenia
20220221 ELM Sävehof Quote
Nexe are an extremely good team that beat us easily in Croatia. So, it will be interesting to see if we have developed during the season and approached their level.
Michael Apelgren
IK Sävehof head coach

GROUP D

AEK Athens HC (GRE) vs USAM Nimes Gard (FRA)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • leaders Nimes are the only team from this group to have secured their place in the Last 16
  • Nimes have lost only one match so far – but that was against AEK in the reverse fixture (27:26) in France in October
  • AEK are ranked fifth with four points, three points behind Sporting in fourth place which gives access to the Last 16
  • two Slovakian players will meet this match: AEK left wing Juraj Briatka and Nimes goalkeeper Téodor Paul

HC Eurofarm Pelister (MKD) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Tuesday 22 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • both teams share second place in the group with eight points each, but have not yet formally booked their place in the Last 16
  • the first game in October between the two teams ended in a draw: 28:28
  • Pelister resumed the competition last week with a two-goal defeat against Nimes; Kadetten had a similar win against Sporting
  • Pelister are having a strong season and lead the domestic championship

Sporting CP (POR) vs Grundfos Tatabánya KC (HUN)
Tuesday 22 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Tatabánya had a crucial win over AEK last week to keep their slim hopes of reaching the Last 16 alive
  • Tatabánya are still bottom of the table, with four points; Sporting are fourth with seven points
  • Sporting clearly won the reverse fixture in Hungary in October: 37:23
  • Sporting lost to Kadetten last week and need a win to protect their position in the group
  • Sporting lead the domestic league; Tatabánya are coming off a 27:21 loss against Szeged

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