EHF CUP ROUND 1 PREVIEW: The qualification matches for the group phase of the Men’s EHF Cup begins the weekend with the first matches in Qualification Round 1 already taking place on Friday
The hunt for the group phase begins
The elimination race to be among the 16 teams in this season’s Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase starts this weekend with the first leg of Qualification Round 1.
Unlike most of the previous years, the ruling winners of the tournament are actually there again, but German side Frisch Auf Göppingen, who won the final tournament in Nantes last season, will not enter until the third round.
The first ball in the EHF Cup this season will be thrown in Sporthalle am See in Hard, Austria on Friday at 19:00 local time.
Here, Alpla HC Hard receive Dutch champions OCI-LIONS who reached the group phase last season for the first time in history.
As the match in Hard is coming to an end, French side US Creteil Handball will be celebrating their return to European handball after seven years of absence by taking on HC Zamet from Croatia, who themselves are in Europe for the first time in four years.
Last season, Chambery Savoie Handball reached the Finals of the EHF Cup, where they finished fourth.
This time, they must start their hunt for a similar achievement in the first qualification round, where their opponents will be HV KRAS/Volendam. The teams meet for the first leg at Le Phare in Chambery on Saturday night.
In the 2013/14 season, their first in Europe, Csurgói KK reached the group phase of the EHF Cup, but last year Round 3 was as far as the Hungarian team could go.
This season, they will start their EHF Cup campaign in the first qualification round, where Bodö HK from Norway visit Csurgo for the first leg on Saturday evening.
Busy weekend for some
This first weekend of the EHF Cup will also see five double headers, one of which involves Futebol Clube de Porto, who were in the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League last season.
This season, they Portuguese team will be starting their quest for the EHF Cup Group Phase with two home matches against European debutants B. S. B. Batumi from Georgia.
The first match is taking place in the Dragao Caixa in Porto Saturday evening, while the return match is being played in the same venue exactly 24 hours later.
In the four remaining double headers this weekend, Handball Kaerjeng from Luxembourg welcome Serbian club Vojvodina, Haukar are travelling from Iceland to Greece to meet A. C. Diomidis Argous, Turkish B. B. Ankara Spor are taking on GRK Varazdin 1930 from Croatia and European debutants HC Prilep from FYR Macedonia host Swiss group phase regulars Pfadi Winterthur.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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