20221031

Twelve teams looking for their second win

EHF / Danijela Vekić, Adrian Costeiu, Kevin Domas, Björn Pazen

Round 2 of the EHF European League Men 2022/23 group phase is scheduled for Tuesday, when the 24 teams want to build on improve from their opening matches last week.

In group A, the top match will see reigning champions Benfica and group leader Göppingen try to add a second win, while Montpellier will also be on the hunt for a second straight victory, at home against Presov.

Group B, which has three of the top five attacks in the first round, will see two winning sides, Flensburg and PAUC, lock horns, while FTC and Ystads IF clash with the first win in mind.

In group C, Sporting and Nexe will try to snatch wins again, while the match between Skjern and Alpla Hard might bring one side first EHF European League Men victory.

Top match of group D is the duel of last season’s Last 16 participants Füchse Berlin and Bidasoa Irun, who both won their openers. Skanderborg-Aarhus hope to continue on the winners’ way at HC Motor while in Aguas Santas the hosts and Eurofarm Pelister aim for their first points after their opening defeats.

GROUP A

Fejer B.A.L. Veszprém (HUN) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Tuesday 1 November, 17:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams lost their first group phase game last week: Veszprém in Göppingen, Kadetten against Montpellier
  • Kadetten have not won an away game in the European League since December 2021, when they won in Athens
  • European debutants Veszprém won their only previous home game in an international competition when they beat Chambéry in qualification
  • Veszprém and Schaffhausen never played against each in a European competition before
  • last weekend, Veszprém clearly lost the city derby against the CL team Veszprém (48:27) while Schaffhausen defeated St Gallen in the Swiss league (38:33)

SL Benfica (POR) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)
Tuesday 1 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams are top of the group after round 1, as Benfica took the points in Presov (29:25) and Göppingen defeated Veszprém (46:30)
  • with 46 goals scored, Göppingen delivered the best offensive performance of round 1 in the European League
  • last season, Benfica played five times against a German side in the European League and won four of these confrontations, only drawing with Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the qualifying round
  • Benfica and Göppingen have not met before
  • last weekend, Göppingen were defeated in the Bundesliga by Stuttgart (25:24), while Benfica remained undefeated in the Portuguese league thanks to their win in Braga (36:23)

Montpellier HC (FRA) vs Tatran Presov (SVK)
Tuesday 1 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • while Montpellier came back victorious from their trip to Schaffhausen, Presov suffered a defeat at home against Benfica
  • over the last 12 years, Montpellier and Presov crossed paths four times, and the French side won all confrontations
  • Presov have lost their last six confrontations against French sides in European competitions. Their last win dates back to 2014, when they defeated Nantes in the EHF Cup (30:29)
  • both teams came out victorious this weekend, as Montpellier defeated Nimes in the French derby (30:22) and Presov took the points against Bratislava

GROUP B

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs PAUC Handball (FRA)
Tuesday 1 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both sides have won their games in the first round, with Flensburg taking a 35:30 win against TM Benidorm on their home court, while PAUC beat Ystads IF, 33:29
  • only four of the 24 teams in the group phase scored more than Flensburg’s 35 goals in the first round, with two of them – Valur and FTC – being in this group
  • Flensburg will miss centre back Jim Gottfridsson, the MVP of the EHF EURO 2022, who is rehabbing a muscular injury
  • PAUC Handball are on a three-game winning streak in all competitions, with two wins in the French league and the previous one in the EHF European League
  • the French side has won only two of the games they played in the competition so far, tying their number of wins from the past season, with a meagre 18% winning efficiency
  • PAUC coach Thierry Anti said: "We will have to play a very good match to bring something back from Germany, because Flensburg is a very good team and the best in our group"

FTC (HUN) vs Ystads IF HF (SWE)
Tuesday 1 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams have lost in the first match of the group phase, with FTC conceding a 39:43 loss against Valur, while Ystad were defeated by PAUC Handball, 29:33, on their home court
  • in their debut in the group phase of the EHF European League Men, FTC conceded 43 goals, taking their average number of conceded goals in the competition this season to 31.2 goals per match
  • centre back Mate Lekai was FTC’s top scorer in the first match, with nine goals, with his experience being one of the Hungarian side’s key advantages
  • FTC have lost a single game on their home court in European competitions, 34:29 against RK Cimos Koper, in the Cup Winners’ Cup 2009/10
  • after a slow start in their domestic league, Ystad bounced back admirably, running a three-game winning streak that helped them climb to the fifth place
  • FTC left back Bence Nagy said: "During this period of the season, it is important that we have a long bench. Two of our players returned from injury in the previous league match and they took the opportunity. I think we're on the right track and we need to keep going."

TM Benidorm (ESP) vs Valur (ISL)
Tuesday 1 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Valur have the second-best attack in the competition after the first round
  • their 43:39 win against FTC was the game with the biggest number of goals scored by both teams in the history of the European League group phase
  • however, only two teams – Fejer B.A.L.-Veszprém and FTC – have conceded more goals than the Icelandic side in the first round
  • Benidorm are unbeaten in European competitions on their home court, beating Zürich 34:23 in this season’s qualification and Austrian side Fivers two years ago
  • Benidorm are the second team in the competition in terms of average age of their players, with 27.1 years, almost one year older per player than Valur
  • the Icelandic side has featured in a European group phase once before, in the EHF Champions League 2007/08, and lost all three away matches, by at least 10 goals each
  • TM Benidorm left wing Ivan Nikcevic said: "Valur will be searching for a good result in their away debut in the European League, but despite the league loss last Friday, we feel confident we will be able to get our first victory in the group phase."
20221025 Skjern NEXE 3 (19)
If the players comply with everything we have agreed and prepared for through video analysis, we will very quickly impose our way of playing and then there should be no problems. We are playing on our home field and, as always, we will have loud support from the stands, which will certainly be our big advantage.
Branko Tamše
Coach, RK Nexe

GROUP C

Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) vs Sporting CP (POR)
Tuesday 1 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Granollers player Pol Valera Rovira scored the most goals in the first round: 14; Sporting goalkeeper Manuel Gasper had the highest save rate: 44% (12 saves from 27 attempts)
  • Sporting defeated Academico FC in the domestic championship 39:19
  • Granollers defeated Benidorm 32:28 to secure second position behind Barça
  • the teams have met four times before, with each winning twice
  • Sporting CP right wing Francisco Tavares said: "As we saw in our first game last week against Alpla, there will be no easy games in this group stage. We need to perform, keep the focus and make our supporters proud of the team."

RK Nexe (CRO) vs Balatonfüred KSE (HUN)
Tuesday 1 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Nexe are hosting Balatonfüred after a narrow 30:29 win against Skjern in round 1
  • in the last two seasons of the EHF European League, Nexe have not lost a match in the first two rounds
  • the Hungarian side suffered a five-goal defeat by Granollers in round 1
  • both sides won in their domestic competitions: Nexe defeated Ribola Kastela 28:24 while resting a few important players; Balatonfüred defeated Csurgoi KK 37:26
  • the two sides have met twice before, in the EHF Cup, both winning one time

Alpla HC Hard (AUT) vs Skjern Håndbold (DEN)
Tuesday 1 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams started their European journey with defeats in round 1: Hard against Sporting, Skjern against Nexe
  • Senjamin Buric and Mikkel Lang are doubtful for Skjern due to injuries
  • Hard’s test before their second European encounter ended in a 35:19 win over Bärnbach/Köflach in the Austrian league
  • Skjern previously defeated Hard in the Challenge Cup Last 16 and the EHF Cup qualification
  • Eivind Tangen on Skjern’s side and Ivan Horvat on the Hard’s side were their clubs' top scorers in round 1, with eight goals each
  • Hard right back Srdjan Predragovic said: "We’ve had two good games against Skjern in the past and managed to beat the team. Why shouldn’t we be able to repeat this? Maybe we can even top it tomorrow evening. We’ll give our best to challenge the Danish top team."
  • Skjern head coach Henrik Kronborg said: "We expect another difficult match. Alpla Hard did a great job in the previous round, and came close to taking points in Lisbon. We are still challenged by many injuries, but we will go all-in again tomorrow" 

GROUP D

HC Motor (UKR) vs Skanderborg-Aarhus (DEN)
Tuesday 1 November 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV, in Düsseldorf/GER

  • Motor have their second home match in a row at Düsseldorf, Germany, after the 38:27 defeat against Füchse Berlin
  • after beating Kristiansand (SWE) twice in the qualification and by winning 30:27 at Bitola in round 1, European League debutants Skanderborg-Aarhus are still with a clean record in this competition
  • Faroe youngster Hakun West Av Teigum scored 11 goals for the Danish side in their opener, while Ihor Turchenko was Motor’s best scorer against Berlin with nine goals
  • Motor lost their last match in Germany’s second division by 29:32 against Dessau and have four points on their account
  • Skanderborg-Aarhus lost their last match in the Danish league 30:28 against European League participants Skjern and rank ninth in the table
  • Motor left wing Zakhar Denysov: "In the group stage, all opponents are of a very high level. And we have to go out with a crazy attitude to the game and with 100 per cent concentration and fight for all 60 minutes. Then we can count on a positive result."

Aguas Santas Milaneza (POR) vs HC Eurofarm Pelister (MKD)
Tuesday 1 November 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Aguas Santas Milaneza have their European home debut
  • it is the first duel of both sides in an official match
  • both sides were defeated in their openers - Milaneza lost 35:26 at Irun, Eurofarm Pelister lost 30:27 against Skanderborg-Aarhus
  • Danish late arrival Sebastian Henneberg (signed from Aalborg) and Oussama Hosny were Pelister’s best strikers in the first match with five goals each; Joao Pedro Vinhas scored the same number of goals for Milaneza against Irun

Füchse Berlin (GER) vs Bidasoa Irun (ESP)
Tuesday 1 November 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Berlin had a perfect start by winning 38:27 at Motor thanks to a strong performance of goalkeeper Viktor Kireev
  • Füchse players Matthias Gidsel and er Maxim Orlov is ruled-out for several month - besides his teammate Mathias Gidsel will not play anymore in 2022
  • Irun easily beat Aguas Santas in their first group match 35:26; David Garcia, Azier Nieto and Inaki Cavero netted each six times
  • both sides already faced in the 2021/22 group phase – and Berlin won both encounters
  • both sides reached the Last 16 last season: Berlin lost to Nantes, Irun to GOG
  • while Füchse top the table of the German league unbeaten after their 29:27 against Bergischer HC on Saturday, Irun are ranked fifth in Spain
  • Füchse Berlin left back Paul Drux: "We are looking forward to our first home game, because these international tournaments are why we play handball. After the good start last week, we want to continue our way."

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