SUMMARY: Kiel win MOTW; last season's finalists both start with defeat
The Machineseeker EHF Champions League started into the 2023/24 season this week with four matches on both Wednesday and Thursday – including the Match of the Week in Croatia, where THW Kiel beat HC Zagreb 30:23.
- round 1 of Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2023/24
- WEDNESDAY: Kolstad beat Pelister 31:22 in EHF Champions League debut; Aalborg defeat Kielce 31:34 in Poland, Barça take 30:25 victory over Montpellier, and GOG hold on for 38:36 win against Celje
- THURSDAY: Kiel win MOTW in Zagreb 30:23, PSG come away with close 31:29 win in Szeged, Veszprém down titleholders Magdeburg 33:28, and Porto come from behind to beat Plock 24:23
- all matches on demand on EHFTV (geo-restrictions may apply); highlights available on Home of Handball YouTube
- follow us on X, Facebook and Instagram for clips, pics and behind-the-scenes moments
- Eric Willemsen reported on Thursday night; all photos copyright home clubs
Thursday 14 September
Is that coincidence? Last weekend, both finalists of the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 – winners Vipers Kristiansand and runners-up FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria – started the new campaign with a defeat. And now, exactly the same has happened in round 1 of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2023/24 to the two finalists of the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2023: SC Magdeburg and Industria Kielce both go down, against Telekom Veszprém HC and Aalborg Håndbold respectively, and both have done so on their home court...
Another headline in round 1 is the confident MOTW win for THW Kiel against HC Zagreb in Croatia. You find the full results here:
Round 2 is just six days away, and I hope to see you again here on the live blog next Wednesday and Thursday for two days of European topflight excitement.
For now, it is goodbye and enjoy the best pictures of the night in our gallery:
You can see the highlights of all round 1 matches, including the MOTW between Zagreb and Kiel, on our Home of Handball YouTube channel.
An entertaining opening round to the new Machineseeker EHF Champions League season! Great games, surprising results, we have seen it all yesterday and tonight.
So, which team has impressed you the most over the last 48 hours? Tell us in the poll below:
See what it means to Porto to win their first match of the new season. Remember, last season they failed to make it out of the group phase (and lost a crucial home match against Plock...)
22:27 RESULT | Porto vs Plock 24:23 (11:13)
Porto have done it! Guided by new head coach Carlos Resende, they turn around the match against Plock and come back from four goals down for a narrow, but oh so important win to open the 2023/24 season: 24:23. Przemyslaw Krajewski with eight goals the best shooter by far tonight, but he would certainly want to swap that for a Plock victory...
22:18 RESULT | Magdeburg vs Veszprém 28:33 (18:21)
Veszprém have silenced the GETEC Arena: the reinforced Hungarian team beat defending champions Magdeburg by five goals following a strong display at both ends of the court. This is round 1, but it is already clear where Veszprém's ambitions are this season.
Nice work from Porto, who have now indeed closed the gap with Plock: we are all level at 17:17 halfway through the second half.
Safe to say we have seen some pretty saves tonight:
The gap is growing to five goals... Gasper Marguc converts a penalty to put Veszprém 26:21 up in Magdeburg. Are the defending champions starting the new campaign with a home defeat against the team of head coach Momir Ilic?
21:29 HALF-TIME | Porto vs Plock 11:13
Not quite a high-scoring game, but an interesting matchup in Portugal where defence is key for both teams. New Porto coach Carlos Resende will try to find the recipe at the break to turn this match around in the second half, after Plock have led by as much as four goals twice (4:8, 7:11).
21:23 HALF-TIME | Magdeburg vs Veszprém 18:21
Only five different players have found the net for Magdeburg so far, as the titleholders face a challenging second half to avoid starting the new season with a defeat. Veszprém underline they are one of the title candidates – as always.
Veszprém were always going to be a tough start for Magdeburg into their title-defending season. Magdeburg are missing Gísli Kristjánsson, who is recovering from his shoulder surgery. Michael Damgaard with six goals their best scorer in the first half.
Three minutes left, 19:17 to Veszprém.
Team timeout Magdeburg. Bennet Wiegert not satisfied with his team, which went from 4:3 up to 5:7 down – and are still two behind: 10:12. Veszprém are really fired up for this one.
Another group B game is taking place in Porto, where Plock, with new goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic, have the better start: 8:4 after 14 minutes.
Entertaining start to Magdeburg vs Veszprém, as the titleholders from Germany and the powerhouse from Hungary are level at 5:5 after 10 minutes.
No time to waste, as we have still two matches to close this round 1: Porto against Plock and Magdeburg against Veszprém.
Tune in to EHFTV right now to see them all live!
The first MOTW of the 2023/24 season is in the books! Let's hear some court-side reactions from both teams:
We deserved to win. We were there from the start, our defence stood really well, and I think Tomas Mrkva on goal was fantastic, that is why we win by seven goals.
We opened very bad and very nervous and we missed about six, seven goals. Kiel are tough to come back against in the game, so I think the main problem was the first 15, 20 minutes and that's it.
20:34 RESULT | Szeged vs PSG 29:31 (13:16)
Wow, how close has that become in the end? Szeged claw their way back into the game, go from 29:24 behind to just 30:29 behind, before David Balaguer nets the decisive goal for PSG in the last minute. Great stuff in Hungary tonight!
20:26 RESULT | MOTW Zagreb vs Kiel 23:30 (9:16)
A bit of damage control from Zagreb in the second half as the margin remains seven, but Kiel are off to a flying start into the new season, winning the first MOTW by seven goals. Kiel are without new goalkeeper Vincent Gérard, but Tomas Mrkva has been a more than worthy replacement tonight, finishing on a 34.29 save percentage and deservedly receiving the Player of the Match award.
Elsewhere in group A, PSG seem to be going to take two points with them from Szeged, leading 29:25 with five minutes left – including a classic Luc Steins goal:
Team timeout Kiel. Heading into the last 10 minutes of the MOTW, Filip Jicha's team lead 26:19 and have probably done enough to get the win they have come for.
Meanwhile, the Magdeburg vs Veszprém watchalong on our Home of Handball Twitch channel is about to start. The stream is now embedded on top of this live blog. Have fun!
PSG still ahead by three in Szeged with just over 15 minutes left to play: 24:21, with Mario Sostaric scoring eight for the hosts, and Kamil Syprzak five for the visitors.
A night for the goalkeepers to shine:
A picture we will get used to in the EHF Champions League: the video replay.
In this case, Kiel wing Niclas Ekberg gets a red card after a colission in which he (unintentionally) hit Zagreb's Zvonimir Srna in the face.
He has already made his name in the international handball scene, but tonight he is finally having his debut in Europe's topflight. Welcome to the Machineseeker EHF Champions League, Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu!
19:28 HALF-TIME | Szeged vs PSG 13:16
Mario Sostaric scores five times in the first half but cannot avoid his Szeged dropping three goals down against PSG. The visitors from Paris look more clinical – most of all Kent Robin Tønnesen, who swapped Szeged for PSG this summer and nets four times so far against his former club.
19:25 HALF-TIME | MOTW Zagreb vs Kiel 9:16
What a first half by Kiel! They outplay Zagreb, with Nikola Bilyk scoring four and Patrick Wiencek three times. Player of the match so far, however, is Kiel goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva, who has stopped seven from 16 Zagreb shots for a save percentage of 43.75.
What can coach Slavko Goluza tell his players in the dressing rooms now?
Kiel just keep going in ths MOTW. They are coming off two straight defeats in their domestic Bundesliga but look razor sharp in Zagreb tonight.
Congrats to Kamil Syprzak! PSG's Polish line player has netted his 500th career goal in the EHF Champions League. What a milestone! (And PSG lead 10:7 in Szeged.)
Oh dear, where is this MOTW leading to for Zagreb?! The hosts are now seven goals down against Kiel (12:5) and we are barely past the halfway mark of the first half...
Meanwhile in Hungary, PSG hold a slim lead over Szeged: it is 6:5 after the opening 10 minutes, with former Szeged player Kent Robin Tønnesen contributing two goals for PSG.
Make that 7:2 after nine minutes! Nikola Bilyk having a blast this MOTW with four out of four, while Zagreb are just way too wasteful in attack.
Two times Nikola Bilyk, two times Patrick Wiencek: Kiel have taken a quick 4:1 lead over Zagreb five minutes into the MOTW.
Yes, the MOTW in Zagreb has started, and play is underway in Szeged. Enjoy!
Remember, you can watch all games live on EHFTV, though geo-restrictions may apply in your region.
"Hey Niko, do you read the EHFCL Weekly newsletter?"
"Bien sur! It is always packed with the latest info on the EHF Champions League!"
Less than 20 minutes until throw-off for the last two group A games in round 1: MOTW Zagreb vs Kiel and Szeged vs PSG. With the new season now underway, I can imagine that you want to stay informed about all that is happening in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League as well as the EHF Champions League Women.
Good news, because the EHF has you covered with the EHFCL Weekly newsletter, full of news, fun, stats, clips and exclusive stories about Europe's topflight handball competitions.
Even better news, as this newsletter comes directly to your inbox every Friday.
And the best news? It is totally free! So why not sign up for the EHFCL Weekly here right away?! You won't regret it!
A heads-up for later tonight: You don't have to watch the Magdeburg vs Veszprém game all alone. Just tune in to our Home of Handball Twitch channel and join the watchalong with Bengt Kunkel and Martin Vilstrup!
On Instagram, THW Kiel recalls how they opened the 2022/23 season with a victory over Elverum. Will the Zebras have a strong start into the new campaign as well, meeting Zagreb in the MOTW tonight?
Apart from the MOTW between Zagreb and Kiel, we have another group A game starting at 18:45 CEST. In Hungary, OTP Bank - Pick Szeged host Paris Saint-Germain Handball. This match marks the official start to Nikola Karabatic's record 22nd, and last, EHF Champions League season...
There are many players who could make an impact on the Match of the Week, but do watch out for the evergreen Timur Dibirov. He's into his 20th season in the EHF Champions League, and at the age of 40 continues to impress with his incredible skills.
With just over two hours to go until today's matches throw off, you've got plenty of time to catch up (or rewatch?) our amazing Dare to Rise documentary, telling the story of the Truckscout24 EHF FINAL4 2023.
Spoiler alert: SC Magdeburg won, and they start their title defence later on today as they host Telekom Veszprém!
An important reminder of how you can watch the EHF Champions League - there are broadcasters across the world bringing you top handball action. If you live outside one of those countries, there's also EHFTV, which streams every match live, subject to geo-restrictions.
Welcome back to day 2 of round 1 of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2023/24!
Today we have our first Match of the Week, between Zagreb and Kiel - so let's start our coverage by looking at the key facts and figures of their clash at 18:45 CEST.
Wednesday 13 September
Reflection from GOG's coach Ian Marko Fog and Barça's, Carlos Ortega, ends our coverage tonight.
Join us again tomorrow for four more round 1 matches, including of course Match of the Week from Zagreb at 18:45 CEST!
Today Celje levelled up and they played well. They have an interesting team. I'm a little worried about our game, because we had trouble in the defence. We didn't have the timing, and we need to improve that if we want to play a role in this year's Champions League.
I thought we played a good solid match in defence. We have some new players, some young players, who need to grow and develop together individually and as a team. That can explain our lack of rhythm and the difference of playing times.
Going back to the night's first matches, to share a couple of reactions.
Aalborg played a very good game for 60 minutes. Niklas Landin made a difference, two, three times we had chances of coming to a draw. I am very angry with myself: when the team loses, the coach loses. This is my mistake. Maybe I could do something more. We have to take a lesson from this game.
It's a great experience to play here. Our first match in the competition was like we prepared it. We play great defence against the pivots of Eurofarm Pelister and our goalkeeper was great. With this defence I think we deserve the victory.
22:21 | FULL-TIME
The record champions have set out their stall to be among the favourites for the EHF Champions League title once again, with a pretty dominant win against Montpellier. The fans in the 8,000-seater Sud de France Arena seem to have enjoyed the contest, but Montpellier were on the back foot from the start and were only able to challenge briefly near the start of the match. It helped that Dika Mem was in fine form, scoring eight goals - what a player he is.
A superb contest in Denmark ends with victory for GOG, but it was not always obvious. Celje allowed a few mistakes to creep into their game towards the end, and conceded two penalties as a result, and maybe that was the difference.
But the Slovenian club must surely take huge confidence from the match, and will hope to pick up some points as the season progresses.
The man nicknamed the 'Grand Fromage' is clearly relishing his return to France, and showing why he is equal to his Spanish colleague between the posts. Emil Nielsen has now made 14 saves (40 per cent), and Barça lead 28:21.
OK, this is getting silly now - GOG led by two goals, Celje caught up and took a two goal advantage themselves! Stefan Žabic has now scored eight times, but it is a great team performance from Celje. Could they take a win and get their Champions League campaign off to a perfect start? We can't call it.
Montpellier have one of the most experienced coaches in the business: Patrice Canayer is at the start of his 30th, and last, season with the club. It's time for Canayer to use all that knowledge as his team trail 17:21 against Barça - he calls a timeout. As play resumes, the referees go back to the video to check a foul on Bryan Monte by fellow Brazilian Thiagus Petrus. Petrus gets a two-minute suspension.
It's still a pretty level match in Odense! GOG have just managed to get two ahead, but chances are Celje will be back level again in a couple of minutes. GOG are more aggressive in attack; Celje better in defence, and it's creating a fascinating tie here.
Video replay time in Montpellier as referees Vaidas Mazeika and Mindaugas Gatelis check a foul on Blaz Janc by Lucas Pellas. They get to see the action from all angles before making their decision: a red card for Pellas.
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21:25 | HALF-TIME
The French fans really are doing their best to cheer their team on, but Barça are in good form and go to the break with a healthy four-goal lead. There's no sign they're missing Gonzalo Perez de Vargas - Emil Nielsen, who played Montpellier several times when he was at HBC Nantes, has a save efficiency of 38.9 per cent (seven saves), while Remi Desbonnet has managed only three (15.8 per cent). Dika Mem's now up to seven goals.
This game hasn't settled at all, with the lead ebbing and flowing from one side to the other. GOG and Celje are evenly matched in a fairly fast moving contest.
Celje line player Stefan Žabic is top scorer so far, with six goals; last season's Champions League top scorer Emil Madsen has not made an impact, netting only once from four attempts.
A first timeout for GOG's new coach Ian Marko Fog, and they quickly stretch out their lead to two goals for the first time.
With Gonzalo Perez de Vargas having announced his transfer to Kiel in 2025, Dika Mem became Barça's new captain, and he's leading from the front tonight with six goals already. Barça lead 12:9.
GOG are ahead in Denmark, with a 12:11 advantage over Celje, despite Tobias Thulin having saved only two shots and Rok Zaponšek managing five so far.
The return of teams like Montpellier to the Champions League after a break means several players are making their debuts in the tournament tonight, such as Ahmed Hesham, the 23-year-old Egyptian left back, who scored Montpellier's first goal.
The hosts briefly led 5:4 and it's now a level game. GOG, too, are coming back against Celje, where it's 7:8.
As in the earlier matches, it's the visitors with the better starts. Barça lead 4:3 in an almost-full Sud de France Arena, and Celje lead GOG 5:3. That's a good beginning for Celje, who did not make it out of the group last year.
There is a minute's silence in Montpellier in memory of the victims of the Moroccan earthquake before the match begins.
Not long until the second batch of matches throw off!
We move to group B, where Montpellier host Barça and GOG host Celje.
In Montpellier, both teams have won the Champions League - Montpellier twice, Barça 10 times. Last season, Montpellier were fourth in the EHF European League, while Barça were third at the Truckscout24 EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.
Montpellier have lost Hugo Descat and Julien Bos; Barça Ludovic Fabregas and Luka Cindric. Tonight, they are also missing goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, but Emil Nielsen is an able shot-stopper.
In Denmark, this is the first international match for GOG's new coach Ian Marko Fog, after Nicolej Krickau led stars including Simon Pytlick to Flensburg. Celje's big loss was Aleks Vlah, who's just played so well for Aalborg in Kielce.
These two sides met in the EHF European League qualification round in 2021, when GOG eliminated Celje after a 36:25 win on home ground and a 29:33 defeat at Celje.
20:28 | FULL-TIME
For a moment there it really looked like Kielce would at least take a point from the game, but Aalborg rallied and Aleks Vlah helped make sure of the win. Vlah has been great today, showing that he's maintained the form he had at Celje last season when he was the top scorer of the group phase. Mikkel Hansen, too, has made a welcome return to the competition.
Kielce were definitely missing their talismanic goalkeeper Andreas Wolff, but were lucky that Niklas Landin wasn't at his best today. 10 saves from 39 shots (25.6 per cent) is far from what Landin can do.
The Kielce fans are SINGING as their team come back to a single goal, with five minutes remaining. Suddenly, the home team have found something extra and Aalborg are on the back foot for the first time.
20:17 | FULL-TIME
A strong debut in the Champions League for Kolstad! They wrap up a good win in Skopje in front of a loud Pelister fanbase, and take the first points in the competition this season. Pelister have a bit of work to do.
A seventh penalty for Kielce, and the sixth scored as Syzmon Sicko puts it away. The 2023 finalists are, however, running out of time and Aalborg seem to be holding on to a narrow lead.
We're now into the last 15 minutes in Kielce as well. It's a pretty physical match - Aalborg are putting up a particularly strong defensive wall. With Mads Hoxer now off court, Mikkel Hansen is doing Mikkel Hansen things and is leading the visitors' scoring. Szymon Sicko is doing his level best to keep up for the men in yellow, but Kielce trail 24:28.
Into the last quarter in Skopje, and Kolstad have a handy seven-goal lead (23:16). Left wing Adrian Aalberg, making his Champions League debut at the age of 30, is having a brilliant match with eight goals to his name now. As is Torbjørn Bergerud, maintaining a save efficiency of over 50 per cent.
Well, this is exciting - the first example of the video replay in action in the Champions League! We see both what is being checked, and watch the referees (in this case, France's Bonaventura twins) make their decision. They award Kielce a penalty for a foul on Artsem Karalek, and Mads Hoxer is given a red card. That could be costly for Aalborg, as Hoxer is their top scorer so far.
The second halves have started!
19:28 | HALF-TIME
That's not the return to the Champions League Eurofarm wanted. They have been rather outplayed by their Norwegian opponents, who have effectively shut down many of the Macedonian attacks. In goal, Torbjørn Bergerud has a save efficiency of 54.6 per cent (12 saves) while Adrian Aalberg and Sigvaldi Bjørn Gudjonsson have each scored five times. Sander Sagosen's added three.
New recruits Nejc Cehte and Bogdan Radivojevic have been the keys for Eurofarm with four goals each, but Kasper Kisum is the only other player to have got past Bergerud.
Stefan Madsen called a timeout just before the break, encouraging his team to take advantage of their three-goal lead. Mikkel Hansen has had a great return, with five goals; Mads Hoxer, for Aalborg, and Szymon Sicko, Alex Dujshebaev and Igor Karacic have all netted four for Kielce.
Niklas Landin had a good start but let more goals in towards the end of the half - luckily for Aalborg, Milosz Walach hasn't had a great game either. Both goalkeepers are on a save efficiency of around 25 per cent.
Aalborg continue to lead Kielce, and Niklas Landin opened with some stunning saves.
A historic moment for Kolstad: they get on the board in the Champions League. Sander Sagosen has been busy assisting his teammates, but he has just netted a goal himself too, in the 18th minute of the match.
Pelister have had a difficult start; they're finding Kolstad's defence way too much. It took them over 10 minutes to score their second goal, and the visitors currently lead 9:3. Sander Sagosen is yet to score, however.
Over in Kielce, it remains a close match (8:9) although Aalborg just have the edge. Mikkel Hansen's up to three goals now, with two penalties and one field goal.
It's so good to see Mikkel Hansen back on court! He steps up for a penalty and makes putting the ball past Milosz Walach look easy.
A good opening for both visiting teams. Kolstad lead 3:1, Aalborg 3:2.
Kolstad have put together a nice little video charting their journey to Skopje.
The other 18:45 CEST match should be a cracker, as Kielce host Aalborg. It's the seventh time the two sides have met in the Champions League, and Kielce have won all the games played in the last nine years including their two meetings last season.
This is the first time we get to see Niklas Landin playing the Champions League for his new club, along with fellow summer signings Simon Hald, Lukas Nilsson and Aleks Vlah; the game will also mark a welcome return for Mikkel Hansen to the competition, six months after he announced he was taking a break due to mental exhaustion.
Aalborg have also won all three of their league games so far this season, although they lost the Danish SuperCup against GOG (32:34).
Kielce's squad is very similar to the one which went all the way to the Truckscout24 EHF FINAL4 last season, and they have also won their first four Polish league games, including last weekend’s in Zabrze (36:32).
So, let's take a look at the matches in store ... first up, it's a bit of an unknown. Kolstad are newcomers to the Champions League, while Eurofarm Pelister are back after 18 years away.
Last season, both teams were registered in the EHF European League Men. Kolstad fell in qualification round 2 to Bidasoa Irun (60:61 on aggregate) while Pelister played the group phase, and finished fifth in group D with two wins, two draws and six losses. Coincidentally, Bidasoa were also in group D and in the head-to-heads Bidasoa took a big 32:20 win at home and drew 29:29 away, which suggests that Kolstad are probably the favourites tonight in the first-ever meeting between the two.
This is particularly the case because of their summer signings. Kolstad picked up heavyweight Norwegian trio Sander Sagosen (from Kiel) and Magnus Rød and Gøran Johannessen (both from Flensburg) to build their squad. Pelister's most notable recruit is goalkeeper Khalifa Ghedbane, moving from Dinamo Bucuresti, who won the Champions League with Vardar in 2019.
Kolstad have had a decent start to their season, with two wins and a draw including a 42:16 victory over Rapp in the Norwegian Cup. Eurofarm Pelister have played a few friendly games recently, most recently losing 26:30 away to Vardar.
Less than an hour now until throw-off in our first two matches - Kielce vs Aalborg, and Eurofarm Pelister vs Kolstad. Here's what a few of the players and coaches had to say before the matches.
Kielce star Alex Dujshebaev said: "I think we are prepared for this match. Aalborg Håndbold is still unknown, I'm curious how they will perform this season. A great goalkeeper, Niklas Landin, joined the team, Mikkel Hansen returned after the break, there are other good players. We approach this rival with great respect. But from the beginning we want to show our level in the Champions League."
Aalborg coach Stefan Madsen said: "It is no secret that it is a really tough game to begin the season with. It really depends on how quickly the teams have gotten together and therefore also a good change to try beat them. We will do anything we can in order to stop them in their attacks and play good in defence to keep up with their high speed."
Pelister captain Zarko Peshevski said: "Emotion can be a problem, but it can also give you some special strength to be better and calmer than your opponent, to hit him and rejoice at the end. We are playing against a super team like Kolstad. Norwegians cultivate aggressive and dynamic handball. We will do everything to make their job difficult."
We all have been waiting for today: finally, the Machineseeker EHF Champions League starts again! To get you really fired up for round 1 tonight and tomorrow evening, you should watch this brilliant "Dare to Rise" documentary, which shows you all the emotion and passion that went into the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 last season, when Magdeburg lifted the trophy.
Here are 27 minutes of goosebumps for you:
The EHF Champions League offers the best club handball across the continent. No wonder TV stations and broadcasters are lining up each year to bring the excitement from the courts around Europe to the millions of fans watching at home.
AUT - DAZN
BIH – Arena Sport
CRO – Arena Sport
CAN – DAZN (EHF FINAL4)
CZE - AMC
DEN - Handball Kanalen
ESP - TV3
ESP - DAZN
FIN - Handball Kanalen
FRA - Eurosport
GEO - Silknet
GER - DAZN
GER – DYN
HUN – AMC
ISR – SportTV
ITA – tbd
JPN – DAZN (EHF FINAL4)
KOS – Arena Sport
MKD – MKRTV
MKD – Arena Sport
MNE – Arena Sport
NED – Ziggo (EHF FINAL4)
NOR – Handball Kanalen
POL – Eurosport
POR – Sport TV
POR – Porto Canal
ROU – Orange Sport
ROU – Prima Sport
ROU – Digi Sport
SRB – Arena Sport
SLO – Arena Sport
SUI – DAZN
SVK – AMC
SWE – Handball Kanalen
TUR – TRT (EHF FINAL4)
UK – Viaplay
World – EHFTV (geo-restrictions may apply)
You certainly heard the news a few weeks ago that Nikola Karabatic has announced his retirement for next year. So, 2023/24 will be the French legend's last season on court... It will also be his 22nd season in the EHF Champions League, which makes the PSG star the No. 1 on the list of players with most seasons played in Europe's topflight.
Not far behind is Mirko Alilovic: the Orlen Wisla Plock goalkeeper enters his 21st season. Find out which other players are the evergreens of the EHF Champions League in this article from EHF journalist Björn Pazen:
Before we dive deeper into tonight's and tomorrow's matches, let's start the season with some serious fun: This is the moment to check how much of a Machineseeker EHF Champions League expert you really are. Take the quiz below and find out:
Welcome to the new Machineseeker EHF Champions League season! We cannot wait to get started - the early-season domestic league matches and friendlies already suggest this is going to be a superb year in Europe's top competition.
To get the live blog rolling, here's the round preview!