Preview of VELUX EHF Champions League Round 2
The second match day of the VELUX EHF Champions League season 2012/13 starts already on Wednesday in Romania with the encounter Constanta vs. Veszprém. Match of the Week on ehfTV.com is coming on Saturday with hosts Pick Szeged facing Kadetten Schaffhausen.
HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS)
Thursday, 20:00 hrs local time
Nearly in every season since HSV are part of the VELUX EHF Champions League this fixture had been played – and on home court the Germans only tied once, winning all the other remaining matches. Both teams had won their openers more or less clearly – so an open battle is expected in this duel of two teams with the clear objective to reach the Last 16.
Montpellier Agglomération HB (FRA) vs. Reale Ademar León (ESP)
Sunday, 19:00 hrs local time
Montpellier tied in their first VELUX EHF Champions League match at Flensburg, while León lost against Hamburg. In the previous season MAHB won their match against León, but lost in Spain in the Group Phase.
Partizan Beograd (SRB) vs. SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday, 19:00 hrs. local time (in Niš)
Despite their home advantage Partizan are only the underdogs against the Germans. Belgrade had stood strong for 45 minutes in their first match at Chekhovskie, while Flensburg tied against Montpellier thanks to a great catch-up chase in the final stage. By their more international experience and individually higher skills the German runners-up are in the favourite position.
HCM Constanta (ROU) vs. MKB Veszprém (HUN)
Wednesday, 20:00 hrs local time
In the starter of the second round of the VELUX EHF Champions League Constanta newcomer Dalibor Čutura will face some familiar faces he had played against in the Spanish league at his previous club León, as Veszprém have reinforced their squad with three former Asobal players including their top star László Nagy. After losing their opener at Sävehof, Constanta are already under a certain pressure on home ground, but mostly will have to win their points against other opponents than the favoured Hungarian champions.
RK Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO) vs BM Atlético Madrid (ESP)
Saturday, 16:30 hrs local time
Two losers of Round 1 face each other in Slovenia. As Celje hardly had any chance at Veszprém, Madrid lost the re-match of the 2012 VELUX EHF FINAL4 against Kiel at home. The Spaniards are favourite though the frenetic Slovenian spectators will push their team to the limit.
THW Kiel (GER) vs. Sävehof IK (SWE)
Sunday, 16:45 hrs. local time
Defending champions Kiel recorded a convincing start, winning their opener at the lion’s den in Madrid and proved their strength. Sävehof took both points two winning the decisive encounter for reaching the Last 16 against Constanta. THW players Markus Ahlm, Niklas Ekberg and Andreas Palicka will face their country-fellows – and anything but a Kiel victory would be a major surprise.
HC Metalurg (MKD) – RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO)
Saturday, 18:00 hrs local time
Two opening winners face in this Balkan duel. While Metalurg was the big surprise of match day 1 taking the points from Chambéry, Velenje had an easy-going evening against Russians from St. Petersburg. Both teams aim for the Last 16, so this encounter will be path-finding for both for the rest of the Group Phase.
HC St. Petersburg (RUS) vs. Vive Targi Kielce
Saturday, 19:00 hrs local time (in Chekhov)
The roles are clearly marked in this encounter: While the host lost by 13 goals in their opener at Velenje, Kielce took a clear victory against Bjerringbro thanks to their Croatian reinforcements and goalkeeper Szmal. Though St. Petersburg are supposed to be much stronger on Russian ground, the Polish champions are the clear favourites.
Bjerringbro Silkeborg (DEN) vs. Chambéry Savoie (FRA)
Sunday, 17:00 hrs. local time
The loser of this match will get already under big pressure, if they still want to hope for the Last 16, as both teams had lost their first matches. Chambéry were defeated by Metalurg, the Danish runners-up expectedly were beaten at Kielce, but showed some strong moments. If Bjerringbro win or tie, this would be their first ever point(s) in the VELUX EHF Champions League.
Dinamo Minsk (BLR) vs RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO)
Thursday, 19:30 hrs local time
Minsk proved that they belong to the best 24 teams in Europe by showing a great performance at last season’s VELUX EHF FINAL4 participant Berlin, but were unluckily defeated. The new Zagreb team beat Szeged on home ground. A match on an equal level is expected in the Belarusian capital with Minsk having what might be decisive home advantage on their side.
FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) vs. Füchse Berlin (GER)
Saturday, 16:15 hrs. local time
A sort of homecoming for Konstantin Igropulo and especially Iker Romero: Both Berlin players were long-term member of the Barcelona squad, being in the team, which became VELUX EHF Champions League winner in 2011. Now they show up for the first time in the visitor’s dressing room in Palau Blaugrana. Both teams are supposed to be the favourites in this group and both won their opening matches. Thanks to the home advantage Barcelona are in the favourite role, but Berlin have proved their away strength several times in the previous season – but the clearest defeat occurred on Spanish ground, when they were beaten at Leon by 12 goals in the first leg of the quarter-final in April.
Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Saturday, 17:15 hrs. local time
The ehfTV.com Match of the Week offers two contenders for the Last 16 at the home debut of Szeged. Both teams lost their openers, as Szeged were close at Zagreb and Schaffhausen were chanceless against Barcelona. This encounter will be another key match for the fight for the knock-out stage.
Find more information about the Round 2 HERE
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TEXT: Björn Pazen /br