Two quarter-final spots to be decided in last round

Adrian Costeiu / Sergey Nikolaev

Team Esbjerg and Györi Audi ETO KC secured the first positions in the two groups several rounds ago, but another two quarter-final spots are to be decided in the last round of the DELO EHF Champions League 2021/22 group phase.

The Match of the Week between Brest Bretagne Handball and Rostov-Don will have a huge impact concerning the second quarter-finalists from group A, while reigning champions Vipers Kristiansand hope to deal Györ their first loss of the season as they fight Metz Handball for second place.

In group B, the fight for the last play-off spot will also be exciting, as RK Krim Mercator host IK Sävehof in a direct duel.

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER)
Saturday 19 February, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • FTC will seal second place in the group and earn a quarter-final berth with a win and if Brest win against Rostov-Don, as they hold the three-way tiebreaker against the other two teams
  • the Hungarian side can return to the quarter-finals of the DELO EHF Champions League for the first time in three years, after being eliminated in the play-offs by Buducnost last season and finished last in the main round two seasons ago
  • the German champions have lost the last four games in a row by an average of 4.75 goals per game
  • Dortmund will finish in sixth place in the group and will face the third-placed team from group B in the play-offs
  • FTC are one of the four teams to never lose on their home court this season, alongside Hungarian rivals Györi Audi ETO KC, Danish side Team Esbjerg and French champions Brest Bretagne Handball
20220216 Podravka FTC 34
I am sure it will be a hard-fought battle, because Dortmund will want to make up for their loss against Buducnost last weekend. They did not have a weekday league game, which makes them less tired than us, and they will not have the pressure to win, which makes these types of teams more dangerous. I am hopeful that we will be able to finish the group stage with a win at home, in front of our amazing fans, with the wonderful support that they always show when we step on the court.
Gabor Elek
FTC coach

Buducnost BEMAX (MNE) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Saturday 19 February, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Buducnost will finish seventh if they do not lose against Podravka, after conceding a 22:29 loss in the first game of the group phase
  • the Montenegrin side can secure their first back-to-back wins since February 2020 in the DELO EHF Champions League, provided they win against the Croatian champions
  • Podravka are on a 12-game losing streak this season — close to their worst-ever in the premium European competition: a 14-game losing streak set between September 2020 and March 2021
  • this will be the 290th Champions League game for Buducnost. The Montenegrin side have the record in this category, with 10 games more than RK Krim Mercator and 40 more than Györ
  • Podravka (313 goals scored) and Buducnost (310) scored the lowest number of goals out of all teams in the first 13 rounds of the group phase

MOTW: Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
Saturday 19 February, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after Rostov-Don won the first game between the two sides, 26:24, Brest face a must-win situation. The 2021 finalists will take second place in the group only if FTC do not win against Dortmund, the French side win by two goals and Rostov score 23 goals or less — or if they win by three goals or more
  • only Györi Audi ETO KC have a better record than the French side in home games in 2021/22, as Brest won all six matches they hosted this season
  • Brest are unbeaten in 2022, winning four games and drawing the other, 26:26 against Esbjerg last week
  • Brest coach Pablo Morel: "This match against Rostov is one of the big events. We are going to face a great team with a lot of very high-level players, a very powerful team. The result will determine our ranking; it adds good pressure and motivation to enjoy and play a great match."
  • the Russian side have by far the most effective defence in the competition, conceding only 284 goals, or an average of 21.8 goals per game in the group phase — the only team to stay under 300 goals conceded up to this point in the season
  • Rostov have never lost against Brest, having won six games and drawn another in European competitions in the last five years

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN)
Sunday 20 February, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • provided they do not lose on Sunday, Esbjerg will extend their unbeaten streak to 11 games for the first time in their history
  • the Danish side need 32 goals to hit 1,500 scored in the DELO EHF Champions League. If they do it, they will become the 27th team in the competition’s history to do so
  • CSM will finish fifth in the group and will meet either CSKA or Odense in the play-offs
  • having sealed first place two rounds ago, Esbjerg have earned safe passage to the quarter-finals for the second time in their history
  • CSM have never lost more than seven matches in a single season (2018/19 and 2020/21). They conceded six losses in 2021/22, including two on their home court
20220206 CLW CSKA Gyor13

Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Saturday 19 February, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the showdown in Norway features title holders Vipers and Györ, who have won Europe’s biggest club competition five times in the last decade
  • the Hungarian powerhouse want to complete a perfect group stage, as they have won all 13 matches so far
  • with 26 points, Györ have already booked a quarter-final ticket, while third-placed Vipers are targeting the same goal
  • Vipers need a win against Györ and Metz to lose at CSKA to leapfrog the French team and climb to second position
  • with 442 goals, the Hungarian team boast the most effective attack in the competition, while Nora Mørk from Vipers is ranked third in the tournament’s scoring list with 81 goals
20220212 CLW Vipers Krim Gallery 21
We are ready for the last match of the group phase, and there is still a hope of ending as number two in the group. Györ have been very strong so far this season, but, as always, we go out to win the match. I think we have improved after the defeat in Györ in September, and with a good day at work we feel we have a chance.
We are looking forward to a full arena and an entertaining match!
Ole Gjekstad
Vipers Kristiansand coach

Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Sunday 20 February, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Krim are ranked sixth in the group with eight points — two more than Sävehof
  • the Swedish team, who won the reverse fixture 29:28, need a victory to progress to the play-offs, while a draw will be enough for their Slovenian rivals
  • both sides lost their round 13 games: Krim 20:37 at Vipers and Sävehof 25:31 at home against Györ
  • Krim have claimed four points on the home court in the current group stage, beating CSKA and Kastamonu. Sävehof have lost five of their six away encounters, defeating only Kastamonu
  • the Swedish side’s biggest trump card is Jamina Roberts, who tops the scoring chart with a tally of 85 goals

CSKA (RUS) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Sunday 20 February, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • CSKA, who have 14 points under their belt, will remain in fourth position if they defeat Metz
  • the French side are fighting for a top-two finish and with that direct quarter-final access. A draw in Moscow will be enough for them to reach that goal
  • Metz played two home matches last week, splitting the points with Krim (27:27) three days before beating Odense (38:31). Now they have 19 points — one more than third-placed Vipers
  • in the match against Odense, the French team reached the milestone of 4,000 goals in the DELO EHF Champions League. They now have 4,028 goals
  • CSKA impressed at Metz in the reverse fixture, with Ana Gros’ 12 goals against her former team helping the Russian side to a 32:24 win

Odense Håndbold (DEN) vs Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR)
Sunday 20 February, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Odense are fifth-placed with 13 points but have a chance to leapfrog CSKA and go to fourth
  • last week, the Danish team suffered their biggest defeat in the current competition — by seven goals at Metz. In turn, Kastamonu fought hard against CSKA but in the end extended their losing run to 13 matches
  • for the Turkish champions, the game in Denmark will be the last opportunity to claim points in their maiden DELO EHF Champions League season
  • in the reverse match, Odense had the upper hand at Kastamonu, taking a 31:25 victory   
  • Kastamonu’s leader Jovanka Radicevic is ranked fourth in the scoring chart with 80 goals and hopes to climb even higher. She is behind first-placed Jamina Roberts by just five goals

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