ROUND PREVIEW: Many interesting matches on offer in the Men's EHF Cup Qualification Round 2
Close matches to be expected in Kristianstad and Sonderborg
Being only one and two goals down, IFK Kristianstad and SonderjyskE both have a great chance to advance for the EHF Cup Qualification Round 3 ahead of their home matches against RK Maribor Branik and Eskilstuna Guif, when 40 teams try to follow HC Kaustik Volgograd and Elverum Handbold to the next round.
While Russian HC Kaustik Volgograd and Norwegian Elverum have already qualified for the last qualification round before the Group Phase, 40 remaining teams are battling this weekend for 20 tickets for the next round, and some of the encounters may be expected to be thrillers.
One of the close ties is between RK Maribor Branik who were in the group phase two years ago, and IFK Kristianstad who were there last season.
Only one goal separate the two teams before their meeting in the Kristianstad Arena Friday evening.
Maribor won the first leg at home in Slovenia 26:25, and the narrow defeat gives a certain optimism in the Swedish club.
“There are still 60 tough minutes left, but our starting point is good, providing we can make another good performance,” Kristianstad coach Ola Lindgren told his club's website.
Another Swedish team may have more trouble reaching the third round. Eskilstuna Guif are only taking a 29:27 lead with them to Denmark for the second leg against European debutants SonderjyskE.
Therefore, some kind of a drama may be expected in the always hectic atmosphere in Skansen in Sønderborg Saturday afternoon.
Earlier this autumn, Junior Fasano failed to qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League, and now the Italian champions also risk to be sent out of the EHF Cup after the second round.
Before going to Romania for the second leg against HC Potaissa Turda, Junior Fasano find themselves being down 28:27 after the home match.
In Romanian Bacau, Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau will be hosting both matches against OCI-LIONS from the Netherlands.
In Croatian Nasice, RK Nexe are ready for two matches against KH BESA Famiglia from Kosovo, and finally, Handball Esch and Grundfos Tatabanya KC meet in Luxembourg.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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