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21.09.2017, 08:00
Lazarov comes home and Vranjes faces the ex
«Go back »Print Version


GROUP A+B PREVIEW: Kielce host the Match of the Week against Kiel, while Zagreb hope for more points

»EHF CL Channel »2017-18 Men's CL
»Group Phase
»
 

Lazarov comes home and Vranjes faces the ex

It will be a weekend of homecomings for a number of players and coaches in Groups A and B of the VELUX EHF Champions League as seven of eight second-round matches take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Nantes and Vardar were the only two sides to win their first-round matches in Group A, and they now face off against each other.

Meanwhile the ehfTV.com Match of the Week on Sunday sees former champions Kielce and Kiel look for their first win of this year's competition.

  • Kiril Lazarov returns to home soil as Nantes play the defending champions

  • Szeged’s goalkeeper Marin Sego competes against his former club Zagreb

  • Two coaches with a combined total of seven Champions League trophies duel at Kielce

  • For the first time in 11 years, Ljubomir Vranjes is part of a Flensburg match - on the opposite side

GROUP A

HC Vardar (MKD) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)

Saturday, 17:30 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com

Kiril Lazarov has visited his Macedonian motherland several times with Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona in recent years, but he will now make the trip with his new club HBC Nantes. The French side face the defending Champions League winners in their first match on home turf this season.

This duel will bring together the only victorious sides from Group A's first-round matches, with four teams picking up a single point through two matches ending in a draw. Vardar won at Plock while Nantes beat Szeged impressively. Being the hunted is a new situation for Vardar, but they managed it quite well in Poland.

It is the first time ever that both sides face off in an international match - but Vardar have great memories from their last duel with a French side in the Champions League, when they beat Paris Saint-Germain in the 2017 final in Cologne. Nantes beat PSG already this season, in the French Super Cup final.


HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (CRO) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)

Saturday, 20:00 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com

The history of this match-up is fairly even on paper, with four wins each and two draws since 1996:. However Szeged won the last three matches against Zagreb including both in the 2016/17 group phase.

In contrast to their Croatian opponents, the Hungarian side have no points on their account so far. Juan Carlos Pastor's team lost to Nantes in round 1 and Zagreb took a draw at Kristianstad after leading by two points at half-time.

Szeged’s Croatian goalkeeper Marin Sego will return to play against his former club, while two more Croats - Denis Buntic and Alen Blezevic - will touch home ground.

Due to the draw at Kristianstad, Zagreb already have the same amount of away points after one group match as they had after seven in the previous season., But they know that the home matches will be the key for progression to the Last16.
 

FC Barcelona Lassa vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE)

Saturday, 18:00 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com

 

GROUP B

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)

Saturday, 17:30 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com

For 11 years, Ljubomir Vranjes was at Flensburg, first as a player, then sports director and coach, steering the German club to the Champions League throne in 2014. Now for the first time since 2006, the Swede is directing a match against Flensburg.

Since the start of this season, Vranjes is the boss at Veszprém, leading the Hungarians to a clear win at Celje in their Champions League opener.

Now a high obstacle is ahead, even though the Hungarians have the home right on their side. Flensburg took a deserved but lucky win against Aalborg in the first Champions League match with Maik Machulla as new head coach, after assisting Vranjes for several years.

With Vranjes at the helm, Flensburg failed to win the last four Champions league duels with Veszprém, achieving one draw and three defeats. SG’s only away win at Veszprém dates back to the quarter-finals in 2001.

The match on Saturday will be a special one for French World Champion Kentin Mahe, as he will follow his former coach to Veszprém next summer. Veszprém are the only team to be part of the previous four VELUX EHF FINAL4 tournaments, while Flensburg only made it once – successfully – to Cologne.

ehfTV.com MATCH OF THE WEEK:

PGE Vive Kielce (POL ) vs GER THW Kiel (GER)

Sunday, 18:30 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com

It is already six years since Kielce last lost a match against Kiel. The 27:36 home defeat in 2011 was the only THW away win at the fortress of the Polish champions.

Although the hosts had bolstered their squad with players such as Alex Dujshebaev and Blaz Janc, the 2016 Champions league winners lost their opener at Brest. “No drama,” said coach Talant Dujshebaev.

Sunday’s ehfTV.com Match of the Week brings together two coaches, who have steered their sides to a combined total of seven Champions League trophies: Dujshebaev (2006, 2008 and 2009 for Ciudad Real, 2016 for Kielce) and Alfred Gislason (2002 for Magdeburg, 2010 and 2012 for Kiel).

THW – without long-term injured playmaker Domagoj Duvnjak – also lost their opener, being defeated by PSG on home ground.

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)

Sunday, 16:50 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)

Sunday, 17:00 hrs local time, live on EHFTV.com


TEXT: Björn Pazen/jh
 
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