ROUND PREVIEW: Second leg off to an early start in Qualification Round 3 of the Men's EHF Cup.
Göppingen to finish the job on Wednesday
The final race to reach the group phase of the Men's EHF Cup is on, and the action starts already on Wednesday night, as the second leg of Qualification Round 3 launches in the EWS Arena of Göppingen, Germany.
Frisch Auf Göppingen are receiving Górnik Zabrze from Poland in what looks like a formality after the Bundesliga team won the first leg in Poland as big as 39:29.
All three French teams in the tournament got fine results away in the first leg, although Saint-Raphael Var Handball was the only team who won.
Saint-Raphael could fly home from Iceland with a 29:28 win against Haukar, and this result obviously makes the French team favourites to reach the group phase, when the two teams meet again in the Palais des Sports JF Krakowski in Saint-Raphael on Sunday afternoon.
Chambery Savoie Handball shocked ruling EHF Cup winners Füchse Berlin by getting a 31:31 draw in Berlin, and the pressure is huge on the German team ahead of the return match in Le Phare of Chambery Saturday night.
Granollers are leading 29:21 after their home game against OIF Arendal before entering the Sparebanken Sör Amfi in Arendal for the second leg Sunday evening.
60 Norwegian fans were accompanying Arendal to the first leg in Spain, but they were unable to help the Norwegian league winners from last season to a win, and it is a big question, if the support from the home crowd on Sunday will be enough to enable Arendal to catch up with the eight-goal deficit.
While things look gloomy for TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen, who are chasing a 30:20 deficit when receiving Danish Aalborg Handball on Saturday, the chances are considerably better for their countrymen, Pfadi Winterthur.
Winterthur are defending a 29:25 lead from their home game, when they travel to Poland for their second meeting with KS Azoty-Pulawy.
Pulawy are debutants in the EHF Cup after four successive years in the Challenge Cup, but the fact that their match in Switzerland last weekend was their first EHF Cup match ever, did not keep them from putting up a great fight, and Pfadi Winterthur are likely to have to work hard for their possible group phase berth.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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