Preview of Round 6 of the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase
Highest tension and a lot of calculations: The sixth and last round of the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase will decide whether three or four pairings will be played in the quarter-finals and whether the host HBC Nantes directly qualify for the EHF Cup Finals (18/19 May) without playing a quarter-final.
Rhein Neckar Löwen and SC Magdeburg are already confirmed quarter-finalists as winners of Group B and D. HBC Nantes are confirmed to finish second in Group D. La Rioja need at least a draw to win Group A, Maribor need to win to secure the first position in Group C like Göppingen in Group A. And if Kolding win or draw they are also qualified for the quarter-finals.
The ranking of the second placed teams will be determined in their results against he first and the third ranked teams. And if Nantes win at Istanbul and Göppingen do not draw the French team directly qualify for the EHF Cup Finals – and the quarter-finals will only be played with three pairings.
See all regulations and constellations below.
The decision about the group winner and the second ranked team will be taken in the duel of Frisch Auf Göppingen vs. Naturhouse La Rioja. RK Cimos Koper are already out of the race and confirmed third ranked team. Their match against Eskilstuna Guif has no relevance other than prestige.
Göppingen and La Rioja are equal by eight points, the Spaniards have won the first leg by 25:23 – so a draw is enough for La Rioja to finish on top, as Göppingen need to win to become group winner.
In the “second place ranking” (for regulations see below) both teams currently have 4 points on their account.
RK Cimos Koper (SLO) vs. Eskilstuna Guif (SWE)
First match: 30:29
Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER) vs. Naturhouse La Rioja (ESP)
First match: 23:25
Rhein Neckar Löwen have already secured the first position, so their match at Zaporozhye (confirmed as fourth ranked team) has no significance. Only the match of Tatran Prešov vs. KIF Kolding is decisive.
But even if they win by 21 or more goals, Tatran cannot qualify for the quarter-finals anymore, as then Nantes would be among the three best second ranked teams regardless all other results and Prešov would rank fourth in this constellation.
This would mean that only three quarter-finals will be played and the fourth second ranked team is out.
Kolding have won the first leg clearly by a 20 goals difference. But Kolding need to be aware of the “second place ranking” as only a point at Prešov would guarantee the Danish team a place in the quarter-finals regardless all other results.
HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs. Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)
First match: 22:35
Tatran Prešov (SVK) vs. KIF Kolding (DEN)
First match: 17:37
Three teams still can become number 1: If current the leaders Branik Maribor (7 points) win at Elverum, they are confirmed as the group winners.
If they tie and Holstebro and Płock (6 points each) tie in their top duel, Branik are also number one and quarter-finalist.
If Branik tie and Holstebro win, the Slovenian team are number 1, if they tie and Płock win, they are second ranked below the Polish outfit. Concerning the “second place ranking” Maribor currently have 5 points on their account, Holstebro 3 and Płock 2.
Elverum Handball Herrer (NOR) vs. RK Maribor Branik (SLO)
First match: 29:34
Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
24.03.2013 15:00 Holstebro / DEN
First match: 29:28
All eyes on Istanbul: If Nantes win at Besiktas, the French team would make a huge step towards securing their direct qualification for the EHF Cup Finals on home ground, but still have to wait for other contenders in the “second teams ranking”.
If Nantes tie or lose the result of the Sunday duel of Bacau vs. group winner Magdeburg would decide whether the Turkish or Romanian team would rank third, what then would be decisive for the number of points Nantes would have in the “second team ranking”.
Besiktas JK (TUR) vs. HBC Nantes (FRA)
First match: 24:31
Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau (ROU) vs. SC Magdeburg (GER)
First match: 25:33
Regulations of the qualification process for the quarter-finals
If Nantes are one of the three best second ranked teams of the four groups, the club qualifies directly for the EHF Cup Finals. The other six teams (four group winners and the two best second ranked teams) have to play the quarter-finals which, in this case will consist of only three pairings.
If Nantes are the fourth ranked of the second ranked teams, they have to play the quarter-finals and are qualified for the EHF Cup Finals only if they win the quarter-final. In this case, four quarter-finals will be played.
According to the regulation the ranking of the second ranked teams is determined after the completion of the group phase as follows:
a) Number of points in matches against the first and third ranked team of the group
b) Goal difference in those matches as mentioned at a)
c) Greater number of plus goals in the matches mentioned at a)
Provisional rankings of all teams who can finish on the second position in their group:
*Prešov cannot qualify for the quarter-finals anymore.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br