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EHF European League

Big names set for group phase debut

EHF / Tiago Nogueira

The group phase of the EHF European League Men continues this week with some teams set for round 3 clashes while others are just starting their campaigns in this stage.  

In group A, after being slowed down in Leon in the last round, Toulouse will try to get their momentum going again against Fivers. Should they fall in Austria, Plock or Chekhov might use the opportunity to leapfrog the French side and take the top spot.

Group B brings with it three teams that have not yet known the taste of defeat, and two of them will face each other in Lisbon. Meanwhile, USAM Nimes and IFK Kristianstad will try to add their second victories.

In turn, group C and D are a case study. Only two games in each have been played due to Covid-19. Besiktas and Alingsas HK are waiting for their first EHF European League wins, while Rhein-Neckar Löwen, Grundfos Tatabanya KC, RK Trimo Trebnje and 2018 Champions League winners Montpellier have their first group matches ahead.

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • the clubs last met in the Champions League 2019/20, and both won one leg. At home, the Russian side won by two, 25:23
  • both teams won their first game in the group phase
  • Wisla won their last three games in the Polish league, scoring 30 goals or more every time. Chekhov are currently undefeated in the Russian league, after nine rounds

Fivers (AUT) vs Fenix Toulouse HB (FRA)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • the only match between teams to have played two games in the group phase. Toulouse are currently undefeated with three points while Fivers have suffered two defeats
  • Toulouse will have to do without playmaker Luc Steins and left back Nori Ben Halima, who are out due to injuries
  • Fivers have lost their last four games, with their last win dating back to more than a month in the Austrian League
  • Toulouse also lost this weekend, to Limoges (26:30) in the Lidl Starligue. They are currently in ninth position after eight rounds

Abanca Ademar Leon (ESP) vs HC Metalurg (MKD)
Tuesday 17 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Leon only played three times in the last month, recording two defeats in the Asobal league and one draw against Toulouse in the EHF European League group phase
  • Metalurg played five games this season, all of them in the European League, and lost three of them – one in each qualification round and one in the group phase
  • Leon’s top scorer, Ruben Marchan Criado, has netted seven times so far in the group phase, while Milan Popovic scored two more in this stage for Metalurg

USAM Nimes (FRA) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE)
Tuesday 17 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • after two defeats that interrupted a series of 11 consecutive wins across all competitions, IFK Kristianstad returned to victories. In round 2 of the European League, they defeated Dinamo Bucuresti decisively, 31:22
  • in contrast, USAM Nimes enter this game after a defeat against Paris Saint-Germain (27:31) in the French league
  • USAM Nimes have played one game, a 28:22 away win vs TATRAN Presov, in the EHF European League

RK Nexe (CRO) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • this match is the first in European cup competitions between the teams
  • it is the season opener for the French powerhouse
  • Montpellier travel to Nasice after a draw with Cesson-Rennes in the French league
  • Nexe have only played friendly matches since their last EHF European League encounter
  • after a long injury, Mario Tomic is back in Nasice’s squad

Besiktas Aygaz (TUR) vs Alingsas HK (SWE)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • the teams met two times in the EHF Champions League 2014/15 season, each taking the home win
  • Besiktas’ victory in 2014 against Alingsas was their first one in European cup competitions
  • Alingsas captain Niclas Barud suffered a foot injury and will be out for five months
  • both teams are still waiting for their first EHF European League win, having lost their respective opening matches on their home courts

SC Magdeburg (GER) vs HC CSKA (RUS)
Tuesday 17 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • this is the first encounter between these sides
  • Magdeburg target their second victory, while CSKA will play their first group phase match of the season
  • CSKA have only played one match in the last month, winning over SSAU-Saratov in Russian League
  • Magdeburg prepared for this match the whole weekend, as their domestic game against MT Melsungen was postponed
  • the German side are currently seventh on the Bundesliga table, while CSKA sit in third place in Russian league after seven wins in 10 matches

HC Eurofarm Pelister (MKD) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • both sides have faced GOG this season and both scored 29 times in that encounter: Kadetten won 29:28, Eurofarm lost 30:29
  • 15 years ago, these sides duelled in the Champions League group phase, with both winning their respective home matches
  • Kadetten’s new arrival Erik Schmidt and Eurofarm’s new arrival Stipe Mandalinic won the EHF Cup as teammates with Füchse Berlin in 2018
  • in 12 matches in the Swiss League so far, Kadetten won 10 and lost two. Eurofarm still wait for the start of the international SEHA League
  • both sides count on new coaches: Zeljko Babic at Eurofarm and Adalsteinn Eyjólfsson at Kadetten

GOG (DEN) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • GOG have already played two matches, losing narrowly in Schaffhausen and taking a lucky home victory against Eurofarm
  • it is the first ever official match between these sides
  • for Rhein-Neckar Löwen, it is their group phase debut, but their second match in Denmark this season, after they won the qualifier in Holstebro in qualification round 2
  • GOG still have to replace one of their top signings, Morten Olsen, after a finger surgery, while on Löwen’s side, line player Jannik Kohlbacher is back on track
  • Löwen will miss goalkeepers Andreas Palicka and Mikael Appelgren at least until the end of 2020 due to injuries, but have signed former German international Nikolas Katsigiannis (38), nicknamed “Katze” (the cat)
  • Löwen are on top of the German Bundesliga with seven victories from eight matches, while unbeaten GOG are on top of the Danish league with nine wins and two draws

Grundfos Tatabanya KC (HUN) vs RK Trimo Trebnje (SLO)
Tuesday 17 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • neither team played any group match so far and it is the first duel between them in any European competition
  • Trebnje know to beat Hungarian teams, as they booked the group phase ticket by eliminating Balatonfüred in qualification round 2
  • In the Slovenian league, Trebnje are on top alongside Celje, counting the maximum of 14 points from seven matches in their account
  • Tatabanya have only played four Hungarian league matches so far and the last one was on 30 September, a 27:21 result at Dabas
  • Tatabanya’s Serbian-born coach Vladan Matic is an expert in Slovenian handball, as he was coach of Celje some years ago

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