Füchse Berlin start their title defence
Last season, Füchse Berlin won the Men’s EHF Cup winning the final at home in the Max-Schmeling-Halle in the German capital.
The team from the Fuchsbau neighbourhood in Berlin starts their campaign to defend their title - entering the tournament in qualification round 3.
Their opponents are Chambery Savoie Handball who will be visiting Sportforum in Berlin for the first leg Saturday.
“We will turn the arena into a witches’ cauldron,” promises Füchse manager Bob Hanning stated on the club’s website ahead of the meeting with the French team.
Last season, RK Gorenje Velenje qualified for the finals of the EHF Cup through two narrow wins against Team Tvis Holstebro.
Velenje won 28:27 at home in Slovenia in the first leg of the quarter-final, and 31:30 in the return match in Denmark.
Now, the Slovenians and the Danes meet again, this time in the third and deciding qualification round for the group phase.
Velenje play at home in the Rdeca Dvorana in the first match Saturday afternoon.
Aalborg Handball were in the VELUX EHF Champions League the past two seasons, where the Danish team reached the Last 16 on both occasions.
This season, the EHF Cup is on the menu for Aalborg who receive TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen for the first leg Saturday afternoon.
“I have watched several of St. Gallen’s matches on video, and I was particularly impressed by the way, they eliminated Alingsas (from Sweden) in the previous round.
“They have a strong back court line and a good 6-0 defence in front of the Czech top keeper Martin Galia,” Aalborg coach Jesper Jensen tells eurohandball.com.
“It is hard for me to say how good our chances are, as we have been extremely inconsistent in the Danish league this season. If we can play our best, we are favourites. If we play our worst, St. Gallen are,” adds Jesper Jensen.
Talent M.A.T. Plzen have made it one step further than last season, when the Czech team left the EHF Cup after Round 2.
In their attempt to reach the group phase, they are up against Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, who will be visiting Plzen for the first leg Sunday morning at 10:30 local time.
That is an unusual time to play handball for a Danish team, but according to head coach Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen, this does not bother his players.
“We are used to training at that time, so it is no problem for us,” he says, but he adds the opponent may cause his team some trouble:
“They are the Czech champions, so of course, we respect them, but we are very keen on reaching the group phase, so we are very motivated ahead of this match,” says Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen.
Fraikin BM. Granollers were in the group phase of the EHF Cup last season, but missed a quarter-final berth in the end.
This season, the Spanish side is starting their EHF Cup campaign at home against OIF Arendal who won the Norwegian league last season.
“It will be a very difficult task for us – partly because Granollers are a really good team, and partly as we are missing three core players due to injury,” says Arendal coach Marinko Kurtovic.
“Therefore, it will be very difficult for us to qualify over two matches, but of course we go to Spain to at least get a decent result which will make it possible to turn things around at home,” he adds.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc