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24.11.2017, 17:20
Kielce aim to stop PSG run in MOTW
«Go back »Print Version


GROUP A/B PREVIEW: The French side have a tough away test in Poland, just like Vardar have in Germany. The rest of the matches in Round 9 are mainly about qualifying for the Last 16

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

Kielce aim to stop PSG run in MOTW

The penultimate round of the year 2017 might answer the major question in both Group A and B of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Will the top sides extend their runs and make crucial steps towards finishing on top?

Vardar (at Rhein-Neckar Löwen) and PSG (at Kielce in Match of the Week) have tough tests ahead.

  • Vardar can stretch unbeaten streak in Champions League to 14 matches

  • Kristianstad are aiming for their first ever point(s) against Szeged

  • Brest play German team for fourth straight time in Champions League

  • Two top veterans between the posts clash in MOTW: Szmal and Omeyer

GROUP A

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs HC Vardar (MKD)
Sunday 26 November, 19:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

Can the lions end the unbeaten run of Vardar Skopje, or will the defending champions even extend the gap to their major hunters?

Löwen clearly lost the first leg 30:26 last Saturday at Skopje, the 13th straight Champions League match the team of Raul Gonzalez remained unbeaten.

The match proved the current strengths of Vardar: a strong defence, many counter-attacks and left back Vuko Borozan in brilliant form.

After nine straight away matches in all competitions, Löwen will finally be playing at home again. Last season that was no advantage, though, as Vardar took a 33:27 away win.

Being four points ahead of Löwen, Vardar - the first ever team to advance from Group A or B before the knock-out stage - could take a huge step toward securing the No. 1 spot in the section.

IFK Kristianstad (SWE) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Sunday 26 November, 19:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

All seven times the sides have locked horns in the VELUX EHF Champions League so far, Szeged were victorious.

And Hungarian runners-up will arrive full of confidence in Sweden following their brilliant performance against Barcelona (31:28) in Round 8.

Kristianstad on the other hand hope for bonus points in their fight for the Last 16. The side of Ola Lindgren have the advantage over rivals Plock (a win and a draw) and they drew with Zagreb, whom they will face again in the last group match.

Therefore, a draw against Szeged on Sunday could turn out to be very valuable for the currently sixth-ranked team, which are two points ahead of Zagreb and Plock.

Szeged are only one position higher, but have five points more.

Also in Group A this weekend:

HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Saturday 25 November, 17:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

Mid-week match in Group A:

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP) 24:32 (11:16)
Match report

GROUP B:

MATCH OF THE WEEK: PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA)
Sunday 26 November, 19:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

Other teams cross their fingers for Kielce on Sunday, hoping the 2016 champions can end the current run of PSG.

A win in Poland would provide PSG with a nearly perfect position to finish on top of Group B. The side of coach Noka Serdarusic are currently in brilliant form, proved by two dominant wins against Veszprém.

After Round 8, the 2017 finalists are already six points ahead of Kielce, so a victory would increase the gap to 10.

The match on Sunday is the duel between two goalkeeper veterans, both former IHF World Players of the Year, who still leave their mark on the international handball scene - Slawomir Szmal (Kielce) and Thierry Omeyer (PSG).

Both have been key players for their clubs recently, with Szmal being the hero after Kielce’s lucky win at Aalborg last week.

Though they are still unbeaten on their own court (two wins, two draws), Kielce have had some shaky home performances. PSG were defeated only once this season, in an away match at Flensburg.

Their head-to-head record is in the balance: Kielce won the semi-final at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 last year but PSG won their group match earlier this season.

THW Kiel (GER) vs. HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Saturday 25 November, 17:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

Meshkov Brest are going into their fourth straight Champions League match against a German side. The outcome so far: zero points, after two clear defeats against Flensburg and a truly unlucky 25:24 against Kiel on home ground.

Goalkeeper Niklas Landin, whose brother Magnus will join Kiel from next season on, and a final strike by Nikola Bilyk secured the Zebras a win in Belarus in Round 6.

Now THW want to make their fans happy again after they were booing when the team lost Celje on home court.

Meanwhile, the three-time Champions League winners are back on course for the Last 16. Another win against Brest would clearly boost their chances to proceed.

Also in Group B this weekend:

Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
Sunday 26 November, 16:50 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday 26 November, 17:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
 
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