DAY REVIEW – After Grundfos Tatabanya qualified the day before, 12 more teams got ready for the group phase of the Men's EHF Cup Saturday.
12 more teams advance to EHF Cup Group Phase
Alingsas HK seemed to be heading for the group phase as the Swedish team followed their 29:26 win at home against GOG by leading 13:10 away in the second leg of the Scandinavian derby.
However, the Danish side made a remarkable comeback in the second half and through a 32:27 win, GOG advance to the group phase.
Denmark will have at least two teams in the bowl for the group phase draw as KIF Kolding Kobenhavn followed GOG.
KIF won 27:24 away against Abanca Ademar Leon last Saturday, and although the Spanish side won the second leg in Brøndbyhallen near Copenhagen 27:25 in front of 2156 spectators, their win was one goal too small to proceed.
Instead, the home team could celebrate their group phase berth after a dramatic finish.
Sunday, HC Midtjylland have the chance of becoming the third Danish team to reach the Last 16 when the European debutants host Russian Dinamo Astrakhan after their 29:29 draw last week.
More success for Spanish team
While Leon had to bite the dust, another Spanish team had more success. Helvetia Anaitasuna, who were in the group phase two years ago, will be there again this season.
Anaitasuna lost 30:26 in Hungary to Csurgói KK on Saturday afternoon, but the Spanish side could afford that defeat after their 27:21 win at home.
Spain will have two teams in the group phase as Fraikin BM Granollers just made it through away goals.
Granollers, who finished third in the EHF Cup last season, lost 29:27 at home to ZTR Zaporozhye but won the return match in Ukraine 30:28. It was just enough for them as they scored one more away goal than their opponents.
Zaporozhye were leading 15:12 at half time, but were unable to hold on against Granollers. Left wing Alvaro Cabanas Garcia became their most scoring player with 11 goals.
Portugal are sure to be represented by at least one team in the group phase after Futebol Clube do Porto qualified Saturday evening.
Porto had a one-goal lead with them against Bregenz Handball after winning 28:27 in Austria, so the 31:29 win at home in Dragao Caixa was more than enough.
Sunday, S. L. Benfica can be the second Portuguese team to reach the group phase. The Lisbon-based team has to make up a 34:29 deficit from their match against KS Azoty-Pulawy’s in Poland.
The support from 2000 spectators in the OS Kralja Tomislava in Nasice was far from being enough for RK Nexe to catch up with SC Magdeburg’s 31:22 lead from the first leg in Germany. After leading 14:12 at half-time, Magdeburg took another win (30:27).
Another German team, MT Melsungen, had no problems either proceeding to the group stage.
After their 34:23 away win against HC Zamet, Melsungen, who were in the quarter-final of the tournament two years ago, took another double digits victory (32:20).
Reigning EHF Cup winners into next stage
Reigning EHF Cup winners Frisch Auf Göppingen are following Magdeburg and Melsungen to the next stage.
Having won 33:30 in Switzerland against Pfadi Winterthur in the first match, Göppingen finished the job by winning 32:27 at home in front of 3200 spectators in the EWS Arena.
The match was equal during a high-scoring first half but the hosts were leading 19:17 at half-time. Winterthur were never close to turning the tables, and in the second half, Göppingen left no doubt.
“Winterthur played a very movable and intelligent game in their back court line and made life hard for our defence. Still, conceding 62 goals over two matches is too much,” Göppingen coach Magnus Andersson said.
All four German teams are through to the group phase, but 2015 winners Füchse Berlin had to struggle before they could celebrate the ticket for the next stage.
Having won as clearly as 29:24 away against Rk Gorenje Velenje in the first match, the home game in the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin turned out to be no piece of cake.
The 4825 more or less shocked spectators saw a completely different game. Velenje were leading 19:14 at half-time, and the Slovenian visitors were heading for a quite sensational group phase berth.
In the second half, however, Füchse limited the defeat to 32:29, which was obviously enough for an aggregate win for the Bundesliga team.
Danish right wing Hans Lindberg contributed with nine goals in a match, where only six Füchse players appeared on the score sheet.
Cruising into group phase
A 27:22 win from the first leg at home turned out to be far from enough for SCM Politechnica Timisoara, as the Romanian side visited Slovenia for the return match against RD Riko Ribnica.
Already at half-time, Ribnica were leading 17:9, and with a 30:19 win, the European debutants cruised into the group phase, revenging the other Slovenian club, Gorenje Velenje´s exit.
France´s only representative in the third qualification round is also through.
Saint-Raphael Var Handball lost the first leg against SKA Minsk 30:28, but the narrow defeat in the Belarusian capital did not bother Saint-Raphael at home in the Palais des Sports JF Krakowski.
Witnessed by 1800 spectators, Saint-Raphael virtually removed any doubt in the first half (17:10), and with a 33:25 win, they could celebrate their group phase berth for the second year in succession.
After Maccabi Rishon Lezion were sent out Friday, Israel got one team in the group phase after all Saturday, as Maccabi CASTRO Tel Aviv won 28:23 at home against St. Petersburg HC who had won 25:23 at home.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
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