Barça break all records
The group phase of the EHF Champions League Men concluded after 112 matches — and now the 16 teams are set to proceed to the play-offs, starting on 31 March.
The statistical highlights include Barcelona consolidating their status as goal machines. Though they lost the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2019/20 final against THW Kiel in the middle of the 2020/21 group phase, Barça have had an impressive run.
ehfCL.com have analysed the group phase and now present the most impressive and important facts and figures.
0 clubs defended their trophy in Cologne since the implementation of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2010. Kiel have the chance even to win two trophies in six months.
0 teams are Champions League debutants or have their first knockout stage ahead.
0 points were the outcome for Zagreb in 14 group matches, and it was the first time since the groups have been played with eight teams (starting in the 2015/16 season) that a club did not win any point. The previous low score was two points, recorded by both Besiktas and Schaffhausen.
0 play-off pairings — like in the Last 16 in the previous two seasons — include teams from the same country.
1 play-off pairing is a repeat of a previous EHF Champions League final: Vardar vs Veszprém.
1 time this season, 45 or less goals were scored in a group match: when Porto beat Szeged 25:19.
1 player has defended the trophy in Cologne so far — and he remains in this season’s competition, with Vardar: Ivan Cupic. After winning the 2016 title with Kielce, the Croatian was VELUX EHF Champions League winner in 2017 with Vardar. In 2019, still with the Macedonian side, he took his third trophy.
1 male has won the trophy in Cologne as a player and a coach: Filip Jicha — 2010 and 2012 on the court and 2020 on the bench, all with THW Kiel.
3 coaches were or are at the helm of HC PPD Zagreb so far during the 2020/21 season: Igor Vori was succeeded by Vlado Sola and now Ivica Obrvan.
4 times in 14 matches, Barcelona scored more than 45 goals.
4 head coaches still involved in the competition have won the EHF Champions League at least once as coach: Talant Dujshebaev (Kielce/four titles — three with Ciudad Real; one with Kielce), Xavi Pascual (Barcelona/two with Barcelona), Raul Gonzalez (PSG/one with Vardar) and Filip Jicha (Kiel/one with Kiel). David Davis (Veszprém) and Alberto Entrerrios (Nantes) won the Champions League as players with Ciudad Real, Filip Jicha (Kiel) and Börge Lund (Elverum) as players with THW Kiel, and Maik Machulla (Flensburg) as assistant coach of Flensburg. Juan Carlos Pastor (Szeged/with Szeged) and Magnus Andersson (Porto/with Göppingen) have won the EHF Cup as coaches.
5 — for the fourth time in six years since the playing system was adapted — Barcelona were group winners.
5 different nations are represented by the 11 previous winners of the VELUX EHF FINAL4: Germany (Kiel in 2010, 2012 and 2020; Hamburg in 2013; Flensburg in 2014), Spain (Barcelona in 2011 and 2015), Poland (Kielce in 2016), North Macedonia (Vardar in 2017 and 2019) and France (Montpellier in 2018). All those nations are still represented in the race for the 2021 trophy.
6 previous EHF Champions League winners, representing 17 trophies, are still part of the competition: Barcelona (1996-2000, 2005, 2011, 2015), Kiel (2007, 2010, 2012, 2020), Vardar (2017, 2019), Celje (2004), Flensburg (2014) and Kielce (2016).
7 of 112 group matches ended with a difference of 10 or more goals.
7 of 16 teams still involved in the competition have been part of at least one VELUX EHF FINAL4 (inaugurated in 2010): Barcelona (eight participations; two trophies), Kiel (seven participations; three trophies), Veszprém (six participations; zero trophies), Kielce (four participations; one trophy), PSG (four participations; zero trophies), Vardar (three participations; two trophies), Flensburg (one participation; one trophy), and Nantes (one participation; zero trophies).
10 group matches ended with 70 and more goals, compared to only three games with such a total in the 2019/20 season.
11 of the 16 teams still part of the competition were among the 14 teams that qualified for the knockout stage last season: Vardar, PSG, Veszprém, Barcelona, Flensburg, Szeged, Kielce, Celje, Porto, Aalborg and Kiel.
11 group matches needed to be assessed by the EHF due to COVID-19 reasons.
13 nations are represented by the 16 play-off participants: France, Germany and Hungary are represented by two teams each; Belarus, Denmark, Croatia, Spain, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Ukraine have one each.
14 victories in 14 group matches was the record-breaking balance of Barcelona.
18 goals was the biggest difference in a group match, when Barcelona won 45:27 against Zagreb.
19 goals in a single match was the lowest score of a team in the group phase, when Szeged lost 19:25 at Porto.
27 group matches in a row have been won by Barça since the opening defeat at Szeged in the 2019/20 season.
28 points, earned by Barcelona, represents a new record since the group phases has been played with eight teams per group. The previous record was 26 points by PSG and Barça.
28 matches are still ahead this season: 16 play-offs, eight quarter-finals and four matches at the EHF FINAL4 on 13/14 June in Cologne.
36 goals were scored on average per game by Barcelona, after their average of 34.6 in the 2019/20 season.
42 away victories occurred in the 112 group matches.
43 Champions League home matches in a row have seen Barça unbeaten, including 25 straight victories.
44 goals scored in the match Porto vs Szeged (25:19) was the lowest score of the group phase.
45 goals in a single match was the high score by one team: Barcelona, in the 45:27 win against Zagreb.
50 times, over 60 goals were scored in a group match.
53 times in 112 group matches, the home side was victorious.
76 goals was the highest score in the group phase, when Barcelona beat Zaporozhye 42:34.
80 goals were scored by Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce) to make him the top scorer of the group phase, ahead of Mikkel Hansen (PSG/72), and Viachaslau Bokhan (Zaporozhye/67) and Mikita Vailupau (Meshkov Brest/67).
+93 goals was the impressive goal difference of Barcelona after 14 group matches — an average of +6.6 in every match.
112 group matches were scheduled and 101 decided on court in the unprecedented season.
300 was the number of EHF Champions League matches reached by Veszprém when they played THW Kiel in the group phase in early December, winning 41:33. Kiel reached the same record, of 300 Champions League matches, when they played the 2020 final against Barcelona on 29 December.
327 goals, conceded by PSG, reflect the most efficient defensive record in the group phase.
505 goals scored by Barcelona represented the most effective attack of the group phase. Last season, the Catalan team scored 486 goals.
6,102 goals were scored in the 101 matches decided on court this season — 2,875 in group A and 3,227 in group B.
Top 5 rankings of the group phase:
76 goals: Barcelona vs Motor 42:34
75 goals: Barcelona vs Aalborg 42:33
74 goals: Veszprém vs Kiel 41:33
73 goals: Elverum vs PSG 29:44
72 goals: Barcelona vs Zagreb 45:27
72 goals: Flensburg vs Elverum 29:44
44 goals: Porto vs Szeged 25:19
46 goals: Brest vs Vardar 24:22
47 goals: Zagreb vs Motor 23:24
+18 goals: Barcelona vs Zagreb 45:27
+15 goals: Veszprem vs Celje 39:24
+15 goals: Elverum vs PSG 29:44
505 goals scored: Barcelona
443 goals scored: Veszprém
442 goals scored: Kielce
397 goals scored: Aalborg
394 goals scored: Kiel
Best goal difference after 14 matches:
80 goals: Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce)
72 goals: Mikkel Hansen (PSG)
67 goals: Viachaslau Bokhan (Zaporozhye)
67 goals: Mikita Vailupau (Brest)
66 goals: Valero Rivera (Nantes)