Last 16 ready for dramatic finish
Some ties are close, some ties seem decided – but a lot can still happen when the Last 16 heads into its decisive second leg on Tuesday night when the lineup for the EHF European League Men 2022/23 quarter-finals will be determined.
Five teams go into the second leg of the EHF European League Men Last 16 on Tuesday with an advantage of five or more goals from last week’s first leg, most notably SG Flensburg-Handewitt, who downed defending champions SL Benfica 39:26.
Kadetten Schaffhausen, Frisch Auf Göppingen, Füchse Berlin and Montpellier HB are the other teams who have a substantial buffer ahead of their return games.
In the remaining three pairings the gap varies between two and four goals, guaranteeing an entertaining night of handball with teams giving it their all to keep their EHF Finals Men 2023 dream alive.
The idea is to play a good game in Germany. We know that the opponents are a superior team, a Champions League team, but I believe that the difference from the first leg does not reflect reality. We will do our best and try to win the game.
LAST 16, SECOND LEG
- Flensburg are one of three sides which won all their home games so far still alive in the competition
- the German side has the best average number of goals scored in the competition, 34, after putting 442 goals past their opponents in their 13 matches so far
- Flensburg are in fine form, riding a 17-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, with 15 wins and two draws, including a 34:27 win against Lemgo in the Bundesliga last Sunday
- Benfica’s main issues this season came in away matches, winning only two of the five they played so far
- Jim Gottfridsson and Kevin Møller are still sidelined with injuries for Flensburg, who secured the largest win in the first leg of the Last 16
- thanks to 14 goals of Icelandic wing Odinn Thor Rikhardsson, Kadetten earned a 38:32 win in the first leg
- in the Last 16 last season, Kadetten also had a 32:26 first-leg win against a Swedish team, IK Sävehof, but only advanced thanks to the away-goal rule (which doesn’t apply anymore in 2022/23) after losing the return 34:28
- no team in the European League Last 16 has ever turned around a six-goal deficit from the first leg
- in the group phase, Ystad won three of their five home matches, including the 30:26 against group winners Flensburg
- current European top scorers of both sides are Odinn Thor Rikhardsson with 81 goals and Ystad’s veteran Kim Anderson with 63
It will demand a nearly perfect game from us to get a sufficient result in this game. In other words, the same situation as for the game against Flensburg at home.
- Nexe are on a good way to securing their second straight quarter-final berth with a four-goal lead from the first game
- Predrag Vejin (seven) and Aleksandar Bakic (five) were leading scorers for Nexe in the away match last week
- competition top scorer Ihor Turchenko netted five times last week
- if Nexe win, it will be their 10th win of the season
- Motor have won only one away match this season: the crucial 27:25 against Eurofarm Pelister in the final round of the group phase; on the other side Nexe lost only one home match this season: 22:29 against Alpla HC Hard
- both sides are coming into the match with domestic wins: Nexe beat Porec 31:24, while Motor defeated Dessau-Rosslauer HV06 32:30
Skanderborg-Aarhus (DEN) vs Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) – first leg 34:32
Tuesday 28 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
- in the first leg, Skanderborg-Aarhus led by as many as eight goals, only for Granollers to mount an impressive comeback and apply some pressure for the second leg
- if the hosts progress to the quarter-finals, it would mark their best result in a European competition, after previously reaching Cup Winners’ Cup Last 16 in 1996/97
- Skanderborg-Aarhus centre back Thomas Arnoldsen has been in fine form with 36 assists – sixth-most in the competition – and Faroese right wing Hákun West av Teigum is the ninth-best scorer with 67 goals
- the Spanish side won only one of their five away matches in the group phase, conceding a 29:32 loss against Skjern in their other game against Danish opposition
- Granollers have played six away games against Danish opposition in European competitions so far, winning only two and losing the other four
We are five goals in front and we are playing in front of our home fans. It was a nice experience to come back to Skjern, but for us it is all about winning and reaching the quarter finals.
- Göppingen are on the brink of the quarter-finals after last week’s seven-goal win in the German team’s first European season since 2016/17
- Kevin Gulliksen and Magnús Óli Magnússon shone for their clubs in the first leg with eight and 10 goals, respectively
- Valur’s Björgvin Páll Gústavsson is among the leading goalkeepers in the competition with 138 saves and a 28.75% efficiency
- Göppingen are after their seventh straight win and 10th in total this season
- Göppingen coach Markus Baur: “We have a good position from the result of the first match. Now we would like to confirm this with a good match in our arena as well. We have again try to stop the fast play of Valur.”
- Göppingen had a draw (27:27) against GWD Minden in the Bundesliga and are currently ranked only in 14th position
- Berlin have won all 11 European League matches thisseason, including the first leg at Skjern
- however, Füchse left it late last week, as they were level at 22:22 with eight minutes left before ending the match on a 6:1 run, including nine goals in total from new arrival Robert Weber
- best scorers of the two teams are Alfred Jönsson (Skern) with 66 and Milos Vujovic (Füchse) with 60 goals
- last season, Füchse were eliminated in the Last 16 by Nantes
- in the Bundesliga, Füchse lost 36:29 against THW Kiel but still lead the standings; Skjern won 29:25 at Mors and remained fourth in the Danish league
We have the dream of reaching the furthest and that the João Rocha Pavilion is a volcano for us to turn around the tie. Only 60 minutes have passed, let's get ready for the second leg, because everything is open and we believe we can go through.
- French goalkeeper Medhi Harbaoui was important for Irun in the first leg, saving two penalties in the second half
- Sporting’s Costa brothers are in the top five of the goal scorers list, with Francisco netting 81 times and Martim 80
- Sporting only lost one home game this season, against Nexe in the group phase, while Irun have a record of five losses and one draw away since the start of the season
- last weekend, both teams won their domestic game: Sporting against Avanca (32:28) and Irun in Gualadajara (30:25)
- Diego Simonet netted seven times for Montpellier in the first leg last week, while Bence Nagy scored nine for FTC
- Bence Nagy is also the competition’s top scorer this season, with 93 goals
- this season, Montpellier have already played three times against Hungarian sides and wn them all: twice against Fejer B.A.L.-Veszprém and last week against FTC
- Montpellier remain leaders in the French League after defeating Dunkerque last weekend (37:28); FTC also earned a win in the Hungarian league, in Farkasok (37:35)