Kielce

Tough MOTW test for Kielce

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17 days after Sweden won the final of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022, the group phase of the EHF Champions League resumes on Wednesday with 32 matches in four rounds still to be played.

In group A, the hunters Aalborg, Szeged and Kiel start with away tasks, while the hunted from Montpellier are clear favourites against Vardar.

In group B, Kielce are under threat from Paris, Veszprem and Barça after losing their last two games in 2021. They will face Flensburg in the MOTW, while the teams behind them play against teams still fighting for places 5 and 6.

GROUP A

Montpellier HB (FRA) vs HC Vardar 1961 (MKD)
Wednesday 16 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Montpellier have an unbeaten run of eight matches, seven straight victories and a draw against Brest in the last match before the EHF EURO break to top the ranking with 16 points
  • on the other hand, Vardar had lost their last seven matches after a start with five points from the first three games and currently rank seventh
  • it is the first Champions League match for new Vardar coach David Davis, who replaced Veselin Vujovic. Davis had been assistant coach of Vardar from 2014 to 2018 and previously led Veszprém
  • Montpellier won the reverse fixture clearly 31:25, their third victory in so far ten duels, while Vardar were victorious six times
  • Vardar left wing Timur Dibirov is the second best scorer with 58 goals so far, Julien Bos is the best shooter for Montpellier with 45 goals

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)
Wednesday 16 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Aalborg won the last three matches before the EHF EURO break, including victories against their main contenders Szeged and Kiel - to be on 14 points and second position in the group
  • after losing their first six matches in a row, Brest managed to stop the downswing by winning at Elverum and two draws against Zagreb and Montpellier
  • Aalborg were the lucky 34:33 winners in the first meeting and in total, the Danish side have beaten Meshkov twice, two matches ended in a draw and Brest won once
  • Aalborg’s back court aces Lukas Sandell and Felix Claar won gold with Sweden at the EHF EURO 2022, besides Claar is Aalborg’s currently best Champions League scorer by 52 goals
  • despite the 31:25 win against Nordsjelland on Saturday, Aalborg are still six points below top side GOG in the Danish league

Elverum Handball (NOR) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Thursday 17 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Elverum hope for more than 10,000 fans in Håkons Hall in Lillehammer, when Kiel’s Norwegian superstars Sander Sagosen and Harald Reinkind return home
  • in a true goal galore, Kiel won the first leg 41:36, this was the first international encounter between the sides
  • THW only won one of three matches before the EHF EURO break and rank fourth, three points below Montpellier
  • after an intermediate run of four unbeaten matches in a row, Elverum lost the last four matches in 2021, sitting in fifth and one point ahead of Zagreb at the moment
  • Kiel have three EHF EURO 2022 medallists in their squad, European champion Niclas Ekberg, who scored the winning penalty in the final and Danish bronze medallists Niklas and Magnus Landin
  • with 19 wins from the same number of matches, Elverum clearly top the table of the Norwegian league, while Kiel are second in the Bundesliga after their 26:24 win over Bergischer HC on Sunday

PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs Pick Szeged (HUN)
Thursday 17 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Zagreb took five of their six points in the last four matches in 2021, including two wins against Brest and Vardar
  • With six victories, two draws and two defeats, Pick currently rank third on 14 points, level with Aalborg
  • the Pick squad includes two Croatian players: Mirko Alilovic and Luka Stepancic
  • Szeged won the first encounter easily 30:21, their tenth victory against the Croatian record champions in 17 duels. Zagreb’s last victory was in September 2012
  • the top Champions League scorers for both sides are Ivan Cupic (50 goals for Zagreb) and Bence Banhidi (45 strikes for Szeged)

GROUP B

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs FC Porto (POR)
Wednesday 16 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Veszprém are currently second in the group with twelve points while Porto are ranked seventh with seven points
  • the Hungarian side won the first encounter in Portugal 30:23
  • Veszprém won the three confrontations between the teams
  • it has been over a year, 4 February 2021, since Veszprém last lost a home game in the EHF Champions League
  • three Veszprém players won a medal at the EHF EURO: Rodrigo Corrales and Jorge Maqueda got silver with Spain while Rasmus Lauge won bronze with Denmark

MOTW: SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Lomza Vive Kielce (POL)
Wednesday 16 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Despite losing their last two games in 2021, Kielce remain top of the group with 14 points while Flensburg are fifth with nine points
  • Flensburg and Kielce played against each other seven times in the competition, Kielce won twice, including the match in round 4 (37:29), Flensburg won just as many and three games ended in a draw
  • Flensburg’s Jim Gottfridsson won the MVP award at EHF EURO 2022, winning gold alongside one of his Flensburg teammates, Hampus Wanne
  • in their first games in 2022, Flensburg drew with Wetzlar (28:28) in the Bundesliga before beating Hannover-Burgdorf (30:20)
  • Kielce won their first two Polish league games in 2022, against Szczecin (34:21) and Opole (27:22)

HC Motor (UKR) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Match postponed

CS Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs Barça (ESP)
Thursday 17 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Barça are currently second in the group with 12 points while Dinamo are last with six points
  • in their first Champions League confrontation, Barça won 36:32 at home
  • Bucharest took all their points at home in the Champions League, against Veszprem, Kielce and Motor
  • Barça won their two Liga Asobal games since the restart of the season, against La Rioja (37:33) and Nava (42:24)
  • in the meantime, Dinamo took points in the three Romanian League games they played, winning against Vaslui and Bacau before drawing against Dobrogea Sud last Saturday

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