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25.09.2015, 14:30
Opening round winners face stern tests away from home
«Go back »Print Version


GROUP C PREVIEW: Brest, Porto and Chekhov must prove their credentials on the road to maintain perfect start

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Men's CL
»Group Phase
»
 

Opening round winners face stern tests away from home

The opening round of VELUX EHF Champions League Group C was composed of two clear victories and a last-minute thriller in Russia. These results have ccreated an intriguing situation heading into Round 2 this weekend as three teams with two points take on teams yet to get off the mark.

Tatran Presov (SVK) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Saturday 15:00 hrs. local time, live on ehfTV

Saturday’s long list of VELUX EHF Champions League fixtures will start in eastern Slovakia.

Slovakian Champions Tatran Presov will host Belarusian Champions HC Meshkov Brest. Both sides are in opposite situations after first round matches.

Meshkov Brest will travel confidently to Slovakia after recording their biggest win in the European top flight, beating Vojvodina 34:22 at home.

Presov are coming off ten-goal defeat in Porto after disappointing performance. Two goals scored from counter attacks, Tatran’s biggest weapon, and the 17% save rate of goalkeepers are figures to forget.

Dainis Kristopans will be the key man to watch in this game. The 215 cm tall right back spent little more than five and half years in Presov and returns to a well-known venue. Kristopans was one of the joint-top scorers of Brest in match with Vojvodina with five goals.

Both teams also play each other in the SEHA League. Whilst the head to head claims to favour Prešov, reading four wins and three defeats, Meshkov Brest won the only previous VELUX EHF Champions League encounter last year in qualification.

Sergei Bebeshko warns about quality of Presov. ”Not many teams play 2-4 defence. They lack experience, but the result in Porto is misleading. They remain a competitor for the first two spots.

“We need 15-16 points to advance, therefore we need to win in Presov. We are confident after our recent results,” commented on the match Sergei Bebeshko for club’s website. 

Oliver Rábek is back from injury as he already played in Porto, whilst Meshkov Brest have fully fit squad to choose from, Pavel Atman recovered whilst Nikola Manojlović showing good prospect in training.

Naturehouse La Rioja vs Futebol Clube do Porto
Satuday 18:00 hrs. local time, live on ehfTV

The only non-champions in the group, Spain’s La Rioja will host Porto in Group C’s Iberian derby.

Whilst Porto enjoyed a high-flying start to the competition, with their biggest win in the competition against Tatran Presov at home (33:23), La Rioja were unlucky to lose by single goal (26:27) to Chekhovskie Medvedi.

La Rioja have only lost one home match last season and the year before. Porto on the other hand are not world beaters, when travelling, only winning once on the road in their last campaign in 2013/14.

It will be interesting to see the battle of the goalkeepers. Both have shown excellent performances in opening round, Richard Kappelin giving La Rioja chance to fight back in second half in Chekhov and Quintana with 50% save rate giving his side the platform to win.

Porto will count on their scoring machines, Cuban right back Yoel Morales and Gilberto Duarte scoring six goals each against Tatran, whilst the Spaniards will rely on Cristian Malmagro, who scored eight in Russia. 

La Rioja are the favourites of the match and they badly need this win to stay close to the top, having lost their opener.

Porto, however, will travel to Logrono confident and fired up after their historic win. Additionally they swept away ABC Braga in league match on Wednesday, revenge for super cup defeat at the start of the season.

Vojvodina vs Chekhovskie Medvedi
Saturday 18:00 hrs. local time, live on ehfTV

Vojvodina are set for their first home VELUX EHF Champions League match on Saturday against the Russian Champions from Chekhov. A full Spens arena is expected as Vojvodina look forward to the fanatic support of their fans, despite not having a good start into the season.

Chekhovskie Medvedi had to wait 885 days in between victories in the top flight with their win against La Rioja in opening week of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

However, it is not all well and good for Vladimir Maximov, having lost their last league match against Zarya Kaspiya at home by a single goal - their first competitive defeat of the season.

Several players with minor knocks have been rested, including the key man in defence Alexander Chernoivanov.

On the contrary, their opponents Vojvodina are yet to win a match this season in any competition.

They are struggling and momentum is not on their side, however Vojvodina can build on the positive moments from their recent games. Home crowd and team spirit must prevail over a lack of experience in the squad.

Medvedi are heavy favourites in this clash with a deeper squad and European experience, but this season has already proven to be full of surprises, so watch out for the dormant volcano Vojvodina.


TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / cor
 
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