21.11.2013, 04:00
29 teams chasing Last 16 berth

ROUND PREVIEW: Swedish team IK Sävehof should be the top favourite to replace SKA Minsk on the winners' list.


29 teams chasing Last 16 berth

With three teams seeded directly for the Last 16 of the Men’s Challenge Cup, 26 further teams are set to start the hunt for the remaining 13 tickets in the Round 3 between 23 November and 15 December.

With Aguas Santas-Milaneza from Portugal, HC Odorhei from Romania and AC Doukas from Greece seeded directly for the Last 16, there are still 13 tickets to fight for, when Round 3 of the Challenge Cup throws off this weekend.

Only 20 out of the 26 teams involved will be in action over first weekend, though, as two ties will be decided in double headers next weekend, while ZTR Zaporozhye from Ukraine and Moldovan Olimpus-85 USEFS will wait until December 14 and 15 to decide their internal battle.

Favourites from the VELUX EHF Champions League in action

In the previous three seasons, IK Sävehof have been in the VELUX EHF Champions League. This season, however, the men from the large Swedish club stand in the shadow of the club’s women’s team who have reached the main round of the EHF Champions League.

Instead, the Sävehof men are seeking success in the Challenge Cup, where their first challenge comes from Moldova in the form of PGU-Kartina TV Tiraspol. Sävehof have the home advantage in this weekend’s double header, where the first leg will be played in Kungsälv on Saturday afternoon and the return match on Sävehof’s normal home court Partillebohallen on Sunday.

Last season, Initia Hasselt reached the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup, where the Belgian side was eliminated by the later runners-up Handball Esch from Luxembourg. This season, Hasselt are opening their Challenge Cup campaign against European debutants Handball Zabrze from Poland who start at home Saturday evening.

Both British teams heading for Balkan adventure

This weekend will see two further double headers, apart from Sävehof vs Tiraspol. Both are involving British teams, and in both cases, the Britons are playing in the continent.

European debutants Salford are going to Kosovo to meet KH BESA Famiglia, who have a Round 3 berth from the Cup Winners’ Cup 2010/11 as their finest performance so far.

Salford’s British countrymen from Manchester HC are also travelling pretty far east – to Croatia, where their opponents are HRK Karlovac who are in Europe for the first time in four years.

The reigning winners of the Challenge Cup, SKA Minsk started in the EHF Cup in this season. The Belarusian team have been eliminated by OIF Arendal from Norway in the Round 2.

Further information

Find the complete overview of the Round 3 matches here

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br


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