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EHF Champions League

20 for 2020: Things to know about the VELUX EHF FINAL4

EHF / Björn Pazen

4 teams, 4 dreams, 1 trophy: this has always been the story at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 – this year it is special.

The shortened EHF Champions League 2019/20 season gets its worthy apotheosis on 28 and 29 December, when Barça, Kiel, PSG and Veszprém are battling it out for the title.

Here are 20 facts and figures ahead of the 11th edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in LANXESS arena in Cologne:

0 players of the current Kiel squad have won the EHF Champions League with the club: Domagoj Duvnjak won it with Hamburg in 2013 (after beating Kiel in the semi-final), Steffen Weinhold with Flensburg in 2014 (after beating Kiel in the final).

1 time PSG coach Raul Gonzalez won the EHF Champions League, in 2017 with Vardar - in a final against PSG.

2 former PSG players, who left the club this summer, could face their old club on the final day of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2020: Kiel’s Sander Sagosen and Veszprém’s Rodrigo Corrales.

3 - Barça (2011, 2015) and Kiel (2010, 2012) can become the first team to win the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the third time. It would also be the third title for FCB coach Xavi Pascual, matching Alfred Gislason’s tally with Magdeburg and Kiel. Kiel head coach, Filip Jicha, can become the first to win in Cologne as player and coach.

3 EHF Champions League trophies have been won by PSG defender Viran Morros, the last one in 2015 with Barça.

3 different Spanish coaches have steered Veszprém to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 through the years: Carlos Ortega, Xavi Sabate and David Davis.

4 times Veszprém have played the final, and four times they lost: in 2002 against Magdeburg, in 2015 against Barça, in 2016 against Kielce, and in 2019 against Vardar.

4 players from THW and PSG (two per club) and Kiel’s coach have been awarded the IHF Player of the Year title: Domagoj Duvnjak (2013) and Niklas Landin (2019), as well as Filip Jicha (2010) on Kiel’s side, and for PSG Nikola Karabatic (2007, 2014, 2016) and Mikkel Hansen (2011, 2015, 2018), the only three-time winners.

5 Veszprém players have won the title with another club: Andreas Nilsson with HSV Hamburg in 2013, Rodrigo Corrales with Barça in 2015, Manuel Strlek with Kielce in 2016, Jorge Maqueda with Vardar in 2017, and Rogerio Moraes with Vardar in 2019; also, coach David Davis won three titles as a player for Ciudad Real, in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

6 goals will likely be enough for Niclas Ekberg to become the EHF Champions League 2019/20 top scorer; currently he is on 70 and trails leader Hugo Descat (Montpellier) by five goals; Kiel newcomer Sander Sagosen scored 64 goals for PSG in 2019/20.

8 – Veszprém can become the eighth different winner of the title in Cologne in the past nine years.

9 – Barça playmaker Aron Palmarsson is set for his record ninth appearance at the EHF FINAL4; he currently shares the best mark of eight with his former Kiel and Veszprém teammate Momir Ilic.

16 times, including the match against PSG on 28 December, Barça have been in the semi-final of the EHF Champions League; 11 times they made it to the final.

22 times Veszprém and Kiel have met so far, with the Hungarian side winning 11 duels and Kiel 10; the 31:31 in November 2020 was their only draw so far.

34.6 goals Barca scored in average per match in 2019/20 season; they had the best attack (485 goals) and a goal difference of +105.

41 straight home matches since November 2014 was the extent of PSG’s unbeaten streak, until a 35:32 defeat to Barça on 1 December 2019.

213 centimetres make PSG’s Dainis Kristopans the tallest player at the EHF FINAL4; the Latvian player, who arrived from Füchse Berlin in the summer of 2020, won the title with Vardar in 2019.

300 – the 41:33 win against Kiel marked Veszprém’s 300th EHF Champions League match in the club’s history; only Barça have played more matches in the competition.

300 – either the final or the 3/4 placement match on 29 December 2020 will be Kiel’s 300th EHF Champions League match.

9,000 – Harald Reinkind’s goal for 7:6 in a group match against Barça in the 2020/21 season was Kiel’s 9,000th goal in the EHF Champions League.

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