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EHF Champions League

Top clubs put to the test

EHF / Björn Pazen, Kevin Domas

The EHF Champions League Men promises more twists and turns this week as it heads into round 6.

Match of the Week will be staged in Hungary, where group A leaders Aalborg Håndbold will face a stern test in Pick Szeged. Elverum hope to continue their winning streak at Brest, while Zagreb are out to finish their barren run against Montpellier. In Skopje, the two former champions Vardar and THW Kiel lock horns.

In group B, the three leaders have the opportunity to increase the gap that separates them from the rest of the pack. If Kielce were to win against Paris, they will open up a five-point advantage over the French side. In the meantime, Barça and Veszprém could also make their advantage bigger, but they will have to succeed in tough away games.

On the other hand, Flensburg are currently ranked last and have to react against Motor not to see the Ukrainian side take a five points advantage on them.

GROUP A

MOTW Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)
Wednesday 27 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Aalborg top the table with eight points from two matches and were defeated only by Vardar so far
  • Szeged were defeated only once in six duels with Aalborg, the last four matches ended either by Pick victories or by draws
  • four Aalborg players - Felix Claar (26), Kristian Björnsen (24), Lukas Sandell (22) and Sebastian Barthold (20) - have scored 20 or more goals already
  • Szeged’s Norwegian new arrivals Alexander Blonz and Kent-Robin Tönnesen will face the two country and national team fellows Björnsen and Barthold
  • Aalborg won 36:27 against Skive to remain second in the Danish league, while Szeged beat Veszprem KKFT, local rivals of Telekom Veszprem, 38:29 in the Hungarian league, to be on top with 16 points from eight matches

HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Wednesday 27 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Vardar, currently on five points, have lost their last two group matches against Montpellier and at Aalborg
  • Kiel gave up a seven-goal lead against Szeged last week to tie 32:32 in the previous round - but have two points more than Vardar on their account
  • in total, Kiel had only lost two of eight matches against Vardar, but were eliminated in the 2017/18 EHF Champions League quarter-finals by the Macedonians
  • Vardar coach Veselin Vujovic: "Kiel come at a time when they are not in the best shape and have several players who are not in the line-up. I would like Kiel to come in a complete line-up. Vardar still have a lot of room to progress and be much better"
  • after his nine goals against Aalborg last week, Vardar left wing Timur Dibirov is the second top scorer of the competition with 30 strikes
  • Niclas Ekberg (27 goals) and Harald Reinkind (25) are among the top 10 scorers in the EHF Champions League
  • In the Bundesliga top match against Magdeburg, Kiel were defeated for the first time in domestic competitions, losing 29:27 on home court

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Wednesday 27 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Zagreb are still waiting for their first victory in the group phase, the only point they took was against Elverum
  • Montpellier have won their last three group matches and beat the former winners Kiel and Vardar to be on seven points equal with Kiel
  • The match is the first duel of both sides since 2004, Montpellier won three of six matches until then - and eliminated Zagreb on their way to the 2003 Champions League trophy in the quarter-finals
  • Zagreb centre back Filip Vistorop: "They have been getting in shape lately and this can be seen by their results. Our wish is to play both halves at a high level on Wednesday and I sincerely hope that we will finally reach the first victory"
  • Montpellier’s Julien Bos was top scorer of Round 5 in group A with eleven goals against Meshkov to be on 27 strikes, his teammate Kylian Villeminot is on 25 goals
  • Montpellier’s Croatian goalkeeper Marin Sego had played for Zagreb until 2012, before he joined Kielce, Szeged and now the French side
  • Montpellier narrowly lost the French league top duel against PSG 34:33 on Sunday

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Elverum Handball (NOR)
Thursday 28 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Brest are still the only team without any point in the 2021/22 group phase - but were mostly equal with Montpellier, despite a final result of 32:26 in round 5
  • in case of a victory or draw, Elverum can match their longest unbeaten run in the Champions League - four matches
  • Elverum are fifth in the group with six points on their account, such as Szeged and two points below top side Aalborg. The Norwegian side beat Szeged and Zagreb in the last two rounds
  • in the 2020/21 group phase, Elverum and Brest had their only previous duels and each side won their home match
  • 20-year-old Tobias Gröndahl is on fire at the moment, as the center back scored 14 of his 27 goals in the last two matches
20211026 Shumak Brest Quote
Elverum are no easy opponents. They show Scandinavian handball. They play fast - even faster than Aalborg. But we really want to please our fans with the first victory.
Viachaslau Shumak
HC Meshkov Brest line player

GROUP B

Lomza Vive Kielce (POL) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Wednesday 27 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • while Kielce are on a four-win running streak and ranked first in the group, Paris are fourth with five points after their loss in the last round in Barcelona
  • this will be the first time former Paris player Dylan Nahi plays against his old team. Two other Paris Saint-Germain players will join Kielce next summer: Nédim Rémili and Benoit Kounkoud
  • with respectively 166 and 163 goals scored across five rounds, Paris and Kielce are the second and third best offence of the competition. Only THW Kiel (172 goals) have done better so far
  • Kielce right back Alex Dujshebaev: “It is hard to say who is the favourite in this match. I think in our hall it is always us, even though they are one of the best teams in Europe. PSG have got a difficult schedule right now, they have difficult matches in the French league as well”
  • Kielce and Paris faced each other nine times in the EHF Champions League since 2016. The French side won six of the confrontations, while Kielce took the other three
  • nevertheless, Kielce won their last two home games against Paris: in 2020 (35:33) and in 2018 (34:24)
  • both teams are the undefeated leaders of their domestic league. Kielce took the points against Kdyszin on Sunday (41:29), while Paris defeated Montpellier in their Arena, also on Sunday (34:33)

CS Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs Telekom Veszprem HC (HUN)
Thursday 28 October at 18:45 CEST, live on live on EHFTV

  • the two teams have not met in European competitions for more than fifteen years. Back in 2005, Veszprém won the two confrontations they played against Dinamo Bucuresti by more than ten goals
  • after five rounds, Veszprém are tied first of the group, with eight points, while Bucharest are second last, with two points. Dinamo have lost their last four games
  • Dinamo are the second-worst defensive record in the competition, with 161 conceded, while Veszprém have the second-best, having conceded 137 goals
  • Dinamo coach Xavi Pascual: "For us it is a complicated match, for sure. But we play at home and we will try to show our best face. We must take one more step ahead because we lost two matches by one goal. It is important to be close to Veszprém. For us it is a pleasure to play against teams like this"
  • Veszprém won their sixth game in a row in the Hungarian league this weekend, defeating Balatonfuredi 36:29
  • Dinamo Bucarest enjoyed a similar turnout on Saturday, in their Romanian league game against Timisoara. After eight rounds, Dinamo are the undefeated leader of Liga Nationala

FC Porto (POR) vs Barça (ESP)
Thursday 28 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • this game will be the first meeting between the two sides in European competitions
  • Barça are the leaders of the group with eight points while Porto are ranked fifth, with four points
  • Porto coach Magnus Andersson: “There is a lot to expect from a game with a team like Barcelona. They are an historic team and a hard team to beat. We need to defend better and we really need to have all the fans on our house”
  • Barça's Portuguese line player Luis Frade: “Playing at home is a special motivation as Oporto is my city. Porto are a very balanced team and very good. They know how to play handball and their 7 on 6 is very dangerous. They have players who can make the difference”
  • many players made the move from Porto to Barça in the past. The last one was line player Luis Frade, who will have the first opportunity to play against his former team on Thursday
  • Dika Mem remains on top of the scorers’ rankings, with 38 goals scored. Porto’s Victor Iturizza has been the most prolific for his team this season, having netted 20 times already
  • both teams are the undefeated leader of their respective domestic leagues. This weekend, Porto won their seventh game in a row against Avanca (35:24) while Barça defeated Huesca at home (39:30)

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs HC Motor (UKR)
Thursday 28 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Flensburg are currently ranked last in group B, with only one point, while Motor are sixth, with four points
  • the two teams met four times in European competitions since 2011. Motor won two of them, including the last one, in the 2018/19 Champions League group phase, while SG took the other two
  • the German side will still be missing Magnus Rod, Franz Semper and Goran Johannessen for this game, but will be able to count on Teitur Einarsson, their new Icelandic right back, who scored five in Veszprém last week
  • in the game against Veszprem last week, Lasse Svan scored his 2,374th goal, becoming the top scorer in the history of the club, ahead of Lars Christiansen

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