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20.11.2017, 14:50
Six teams that impressed the most
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TALKING POINTS: We take a look at six sides that stood out in the eighth round of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase

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

Six teams that impressed the most

There were plenty of interesting results in Round 8 of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase, which ended on Sunday night.

Let’s have a look at the six teams that impressed the most and are expected be on the lips of handball fans gathering at the coffee machines after the weekend.

MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)

The Hungarian side provided perhaps the biggest upset of the round, with a victory against FC Barcelona Lassa in Group A. After holding a three-goal lead at the break, MOL-Pick Szeged showed no weakness in the second half and won 31:28.

The victory is especially interesting because it was Szeged’s first home win against Barcelona in 13 years. It should also almost guarantee the Hungarian side a place in the first knock-out round.

“It feels good to open the newspaper today,” says Szeged’s official Facebook page on Monday morning. The Hungarian media were well aware of the significance of the win.

HC Vardar (MKD)

When Rhein-Neckar Löwen came to visit in Group A for this round’s Match of the Week, it was another big test for HC Vardar – and another they passed with a solid grade.

The Macedonian side put an end to the Mannheim Lions’ unbeaten run with a four-goal victory, 30:26. It was the second time they forced a giant to the floor after having been the first side to beat FC Barcelona Lassa earlier in the group phase.

The victory sees Vardar move four points ahead of the German champions on the Group A table. A defeat would have cracked the group wide open, but that was not an option for the reigning champions.

Vardar are now unbeaten in their last 13 Champions League games.

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA)

The French side did it again and now have a tight grip over Telekom Veszprém HC. PSG recorded their fifth win in the last five VELUX EHF Champions League matches against the Hungarian team – including the 2016/17 semi-final.

PSG won by five goals, 33:28, in Round 7 earlier in November, and conquered Veszprém’s fortress with another five-goal victory, 29:24, on Saturday. Paris are now three points ahead of Veszprém at the top of the group.

Thierry Omeyer and his teammates certainly had a reason to smile.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)

Flensburg took advantage of PSG’s win against Veszprém to claim second in Group B thanks to a seven-goal victory versus HC Meshkov Brest (37:30).

It was the hardest defeat for the Belarusian side in the group this season, while Flensburg equalled Barcelona to record the highest score in a single 2017/18 match with their 37 goals.

Sunday’s result was Flensburg’s fourth win against Brest in the fourth ever head-to-head duel between them, and Brest are left waiting for their first point against a German team this season.

Skjern Handbold (DEN)

Skjern Handbold took a big step toward the play-offs with a flawless performance against Elverum Handball in Group C, 35:25.

Skjern are the team to beat in the battle for the top two spots in their group. Elverum are fighting for a play-off spot too, but a solid all-round performance from Skjern means they still have a two-point lead at the top, as well as the best goal difference of all the teams in the competition at +54.

The fact that 10 of 11 players scored for Skjern says a lot about the team now heading into a crucial double header against Leon and Velenje to finish the group phase.

The celebration was sweet after the eighth home victory in a row.

Montpellier HB (FRA)

You cannot have a list of the most impressive teams in the competition without including Montpellier HB.

The French side are still the only team in the group stage this season with eight wins in eight games, and have their ticket for the play-offs guaranteed.

A 34:23 victory against Chekhovskie Medvedi secured the French side the top spot in the group with two matches remaining. The eight-game winning streak equals their best ever in the Champions League.


TEXT: Andri Yrkill Valsson / cg
 
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