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25.02.2019, 14:00
Six teams in focus
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TALKING POINTS: We are only one round away from the end of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase. Meanwhile, the Group C+D Play-offs are in full swing

»EHF CL Channel »2018-19 Men's CL
»Group Phase
»
 

Six teams in focus

With only one round remaining in the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League, the final rankings are starting to line up. Not everything is decided however, and it is only half-time in the Group C+D Play-off battles. 

In this week’s talking points we look at the teams that will enter the next – and last – round of the group phase with less pressure after their performance in Round 13.

Barça Lassa

The Catalan side only needed one point from their last two games, but went all the way with a 36:28 win against Montpellier HB to secure the top spot in Group A.

Barça are now going straight to the quarter-finals and have avenged their elimination against Montpellier in the 2017/18 Last 16 phase. 

Last year, the French side eventually claimed the trophy, but the reigning champions will now fight for their life in the last round of this season’s group phase. 

Paris-Saint Germain HB

The French giants have also confirmed their place at the top in Group B, and with it, a direct ticket to the quarter-finals.

That was clear following MOL-Pick Szeged’s defeat to HBC Nantes, but PSG still did their part and beat Celje 36:32.

HC Motor Zaporozhye 

Another team that qualified for the Last 16 in round 13 was HC Motor Zaporozhye, after an impressive 10-goal win against Skjern Handbold, 33:23.

Motor will take part in the Last 16 for the first time since 2016. The Ukrainian side must be relieved that they do not count on points from the last round to proceed, as Motor will visit in-form PSG for the final group phase match.

Motor are undefeated at home since September 2018 – a statistic they want to build on further.

Telekom Veszprém HC

The Hungarian giants are the in-form team at the end of the group stage. They are on a six-game winning streak in Group A after their round 13 victory against HC Meshkov Brest, 28:20.

This run has propelled them to second place, where they have the edge over HC Vardar before the final round in the group.

The victory versus Meshkov was especially impressive, since Veszprém only scored once in the first 13 minutes.

HC PPD Zagreb

Even though the Croatian side lost 21:22 against SG Flensburg-Handewitt in Group B, they had a reason to celebrate this round, as the other match results over the weekend booked them a ticket to the Last 16.

However, Zagreb can now only finish fifth or sixth in the group, which might be slightly lower than they aimed for. But qualifying for the knock-out stage is what really matters in the end. Securing the berth before the last round must take the pressure off.

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg

The knock-out action from Groups C and D, where four teams battle for two tickets to the Last 16, started this weekend. 

Danish side Bjerringbro-Silkeborg took a major step towards the Last 16 after an impressive away win, 26:22, against Orlen Wisla Plock. The Polish team will really need to improve their game before the return leg in Denmark to stay in the competition.

Meanwhile, the other tie between Sporting CP and Dinamo Bucuresti is dead tight after a narrow win for Sporting, 32:31. 

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg are in the driver’s seat in the play-offs, but the battles are far from over.


TEXT: Andri Yrkill Valsson / cg
 
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