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09.10.2015, 15:10
Home advantage to prevail?
«Go back »Print Version


ROUND PREVIEW A: Veszprem and PSG are favourites on home court, while Plock and Celje hope for surprises

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

Home advantage to prevail?

After three rounds, no team in Group A of the VELUX EHF Champions League has a clear record of six points – a fact, which proves the balance.
But Veszprem (against Besiktas) and Paris (against Zagreb) can make steps towards the top of the table, while the German sides Kiel (at Plock) and Flensburg (at Celje) are under a certain pressure.

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Saturday 10 October 20:45 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

After the draw against Veszprem and the unlucky defeat at Paris, Plock are eager to cause the next upset.

The Polish runners-ups have shown their ambitions: Having three points on their account, Plock want to prove their home strength again against the three-time Champions League winners.

THW have not only lost their cornerstone of defence and attack, Patrick Wiencek, after he tore his cruciate ligament early on in the win against Flensburg. Kiel reacted to Wiencek’s long-term injury by signing their former line player Igor Anic from French side HBC Nantes.

Since Plock have won six duels so far against Kiel in the past, the chances of a surprise look good, though Kiel are on the back of two wins against Besiktas and Flensburg.

Their only defeat was away to Zagreb, and Plock showed their best performances so far at home – against Veszprem (27:27).

MVM Veszprem (HUN) vs Besiktas Jimnastik Kulubu (TUR)
Sunday 11 October 15:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

The only unbeaten team of Group A face the only team without a single point of this group, and thus the roles are clearly defined with the Turkish side travelling to the Veszprem Arena - a true handball fortress.

Interim coach Xavier Sabate can take his third straight win on the international front after beating Flensburg and Zagreb thus far.

Besiktas have nothing to lose in the first ever encounter the club.

Veszprem had a perfect dress rehearsal for the Champions League match by beating Nexe in the SEHA Liga 35:21, but besides Laszlo Nagy (finger injury) they have to replace right back Christian Zeitz, who is currently suffering from a shoulder injury.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)
Sunday 11 October 17:00 hrs local time, live ehfTV

The re-match of the 2004 EHF Champions League finals (won by the Slovenians on aggregate) will tell us a lot for upcoming weeks.

Both sides are on two points so far, Flensburg beat PSG, while Celje took the points against Besiktas, and both sides have lost their last two VELUX EHF Champions League matches.

Flensburg have already faced three top clubs – PSG, Veszprem and Kiel – and now hope to extend their strong series on home ground, only interrupted by a clear defeat against Kiel in the 2014/15 season’s Last 16.

Celje have never managed to win any of the five away matches at Flensburg before, the only point they earned was in a draw in 2003.

The young guns from Slovenia are seen to be the underdog, but always fight hard against German sides, proved by their results at Kiel, Hamburg and Flensburg in the previous seasons.

“We have a tough task ahead, as Celje are never easy to beat,” said Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes.

His positive memories on the upcoming opponent: After beating Celje for the last time in the 2013/14 Last16 matches, they went on to become VELUX EHF Champions League winners.

Paris Saint Germain Handball (FRA) vs HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (CRO)
Sunday 11 October 17:00 hrs local time, live ehfTV

Who can stop Mikkel Hansen with already 25 goals to his name?

This is the major question on Zagreb’s side.

Last year they were defeated at the French capital but then won at home and now?

Since Jakov Gojun (to Berlin) and Marko Kopljar (to Barcelona) left before this season, Igor Vori is the only remaining Croatian (and former Zagreb) player in the PSG squad.

After the clear opening defeat to Flensburg, PSG won both matches against Besiktas and Plock, but as mentioned by their coach Noka Serdarusic, his players still have clear room for improvement.

As Zagreb don’t travel well when compared to their home encounters, PSG should to be the favourite for this one.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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