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17.03.2015, 15:20
Four teams fighting for two quarter-final tickets
«Go back »Print Version


ROUND PREVIEW: Eight points may be necessary to reach the quarter-final of the Men’s EHF Cup this season.

» »2014-15 Men's EHF Cup
»Group Phase
»
 

Four teams fighting for two quarter-final tickets

Before the last match day of the group phase in the Men's EHF Cup, it is a fact that only three quarter-finals will be played and the worst of the second-ranked teams will not make it, which means that eight points may be necessary to qualify.

Apart from Füchse, who have already qualified directly for the EHF Cup Finals, four teams have already earned the quarter-final tickets. HSV Hamburg from Group A, Team Tvis Holstebro from Group B, Skjern Handbold from Group C and MT Melsungen from Group D are all through, leaving only two quarter-final places up for grabs.

There are still four contenders for these two spots - Gorenje Velenje (6 points) and Haslum HK (4) from Group A, Fraikin BM Granollers (5) from Group B and Eskilstuna Guif (6) from Group D. Three matches of the last round will be broadcast live on ehfTV.

Group A

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs Pfadi Winterthur (SUI)
Wednesday 18 March, 19.30 local time

Last weekend, Hamburg made sure to proceed to the quarter-final and to even do so as winners of Group A.

Being last in the group with only two points, Winterthur have played their part in the tournament and can only strive to end their group phase campaign well.

However, it will obviously be very difficult for the Swiss team to get anything out of their visit to the Sporthalle Hamburg on Wednesday, especially if Hamburg decide to go all in order to prove beyond reasonable doubt which team was the strongest in this group.

Haslum Handballklubb (NOR) vs Gorenje Velenje (SLO)
Saturday 21 March, 16.15 local time, live on ehfTV

Both teams actually still have a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals, even though Haslum's chance is only very theoretical.

As Velenje won the two teams' first meeting at home 34:21, only a Haslum win by at least 14 goals will send them past Velenje. But they will also need Granollers to lose their home match against St. Petersburg to claim the quarter-final ticket.

Velenje can confirm the passage to the knockout stage with a win. Even a defeat might be enough for the Slovenian side, but in this case they will depend on the results of Granollers and Eskilstuna.

GROUP B

Fraikin BM Granollers (ESP) vs St. Petersburg HC (RUS)
Saturday 21 March, 16.15 local time

With only three-quarter finals to be played the Spanish team is in the worst position among the second-placed teams as even the win against St. Petersburg might not be enough to go on the tournament.

Having only five points so far, seven points are the highest they can get, and they will therefore have to hope for at least one other second placed team to get less which may be a thin hope.

HCM Constanta (ROU) vs Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN)
Sunday 22 March, 11.45 local time, live on ehfTV

With regards to the final outcome of the group, this match is of no significance. Last weekend, Holstebro did not only secure access to the quarter-finals for the second time within three years. The Danish team also made sure to win the group.

Constanta, on the other hand, lost their last frail hope to qualify for the quarter-final, as they lost as clearly as 35:27 away to St. Petersburg Monday, so all the Romanian champions can hope for, is a revenge for the 34:28 defeat in the away game against Holstebro on the second match day of the group phase

GROUP C

Futebol Clube do Porto (POR) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN)
Saturday 21 March, 18.00 local time, live on ehfTV

Porto can no longer achieve anything with regards to the quarter-finals, while things are slightly different for the opponents.

Skjern are sure to proceed to the quarter-final no matter how the Saturday match in Portugal turns out, but the Danish team still has a chance of winning the group.

This will be the case, if they get at least one points more the Füchse on this last match day.

To Skjern, reaching the quarter-finals was the main objective, and having achieved that already has caused happiness in the club.

“We have played some really good handball in the group phase, and although we would have liked to bother Berlin a bit on their home ground, this does not change the fact that we have made a consistent effort,” one of Skjern's Danish internationals, Henrik Mollgaard told the club's website.

HC Vojvodina (SRB) vs Füchse Berlin (GER)
Saturday 21 March, 18.00 local time

This match in Novi Sad and the one in Porto, which are being played simultaneously, may have huge impact on the rest of the tournament, but not on Vojvodina and Füchse themselves. The Serbian champions, who are the only team in the entire group phase who have not achieved a single point yet, will finish fourth no matter what their farewell result will be.

Füchse, who already clinched the particpation at the EHF Cup Finals last weekend, can still rank second in the group, but cannot finish as the worst second placed team anymore.

However, if they fail to get the top spot, there will be four group winners and only two second-ranked teams in the quarter-final draw next week, which will result in one pairing with two group winners facing each other.

Group D

Balatonfüredi KSE (HUN) vs Eskilstuna Guif (SWE)
Friday 20 March, 18.15 local time

Last weekend, Balantonfüred got their first win ever in an EHF Cup group match, as they won 27:26 away against RK Nexe.

However, that win did not help the Hungarian side who are without a chance to reach the quarter-finals. The situation is completely different for Eskilstuna.

The visitors are sure to finish second in the group, but as there will be only three quarter-finals, Eskilstuna will need at least a draw and probably a win to be absolutely sure to play the quarter-final.

Playing already on Friday evening, however, they have no chance of knowing which result will be good enough for them, so they will simply have to go for the win in order to be absolutely sure to still be in the competition after the weekend.

MT Melsungen (GER) vs RK Nexe (CRO)
Saturday 21 March, 20.00 local time

The Saturday night match in the Rothenbach-Halle in Kassel wil be another one of those matches, in which neither team has anything at stake.

Melsungen are already sure to got through to the quarter-finals, and to do so as group winners.

Nexe started their group phase campaing in style, but through their 27:26 defeat at home to Balatonfüredi last weekend and Melsungen's surprising 27:25 defeat to Eskilstuna, the Croatian side lost their last chance to go on in the tournament.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
 
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