PREVIEW: Long-awaited comback for Slovakian and Bulgarian sides this weekend
Challenge Cup launches with four matches
The Men’s Challenge Cup 2015/16 throws off this coming weekend, but only with four matches.
The remaining six ties in Round 2 will be played as double-headers next weekend.
Out of the eight teams in action this weekend, MSK Povazska Bystrica have the proudest European tradition, though we have to go back some years to find it.
In the season 2002/03, 2003/04 and again in the 2006/07, the Slovakian club was in the EHF Champions League group phase.
In their European comeback after seven years of absence, they are receiving HC Vogosca Poljine Hills in the Sporting Hall MSK Sunday evening.
Unlike Bystrica, the Bosnian visitors are European debutants.
The Concrete People Arena in Zwartemeer, Netherlands will see a Dutch-Luxembourg meeting Saturday night.
JMS Hurry-Up take on HC Berchem from Luxembourg, who are back in Europe after four years of absence, while the hosts only have to go back two years to find their latest European campaign, when they reached Round 3 of the Challenge Cup.
Last season, AO Poseidon Loutrakiou reached Round 3 of the Challenge Cup in their European debut.
Sunday evening, the Greek team will start their attempt to emulate that achievement as they play the first leg at home against Viljandi HC, who have not been in Europe since the 2003/04 season, when the Estonian club reached Round 2 of the EHF Cup.
HK “Lokomotiv” Varna are back in Europe after a five-year break, and Saturday afternoon, they enter the court of their home ground, The Sport complex Kamchia for the first leg against HC Vise BM from Belgium who had their first European appearance last season, when they reached the Last 16 of the Challenge Cup.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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