20210513 MCL Aalborg Flensburg Gallery 5
EHF Champions League

Eight teams 60 minutes from the EHF FINAL4

Kevin Domas / Björn Pazen

Will we see two German sides at the EHF FINAL4? Two French teams? Powerhouses Barça and Veszprém? Will there be a surprise? It is impossible to tell, as the four first-leg quarter-finals were tight — and everything is therefore on the line this week.

Based on their first leg results, PSG and Nantes can hope to grab their tickets to Cologne, but they will have to get past the title holders Kiel and Veszprém, respectively.

Barça appear on the right track to proceed, and Aalborg can hope for their first ever participation in the EHF FINAL4 after they won the first game against Flensburg by five goals.

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Wednesday 19 May, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • THW Kiel won the first leg at home last Wednesday, 31:29, thanks to a spectacular ending and 10 goals from Norwegian right back Harald Reinkind
  • the first-leg defeat was the first for Paris against Kiel in the Champions League since 2016
  • Kiel have not won a Champions League game in Paris since 2014 (27:25). Only two teams managed to win a European game in the Coubertin arena since that day: Barça and Flensburg
  • PSG back Mikkel Hansen has scored 78 times this season in the Champions League — two more than Kiel’s top scorer, Swedish right wing Niclas Ekberg
  • Kiel’s biggest defeat in the Champions League was in 2017, when they travelled to Paris for the last game of the group phase and lost 24:42
  • since the first leg, Paris won the French Cup, beating Montpellier 30:26 in the final while THW beat Balingen in the Bundesliga 38:34
  • Sander Sagosen made his comeback this weekend with Kiel, meaning that the Norwegian left back should be fit for travel and playing against his former teammates. On the other hand, Patrick Wiencek suffered a broken fibula in the first leg and will not be playing

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)
Wednesday 19 May, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Aalborg won the first leg 26:21 after a spectacular match from goalkeeper Mikael Aggefors (16 saves), and eight goals each from his Swedish compatriots Felix Claar and Lukas Sandell
  • two of Flensburg’s three top scorers in the first leg were also Swedish internationals: Jim Gottfridsson (five goals) and Hampus Wanne (four, alongside Mads Mensah)
  • since 2012 when AG Kobenhavn made it to Cologne, no Danish club has qualified for the EHF FINAL4. Kobenhavn remain the only team to have done so
  • Flensburg only booked an EHF FINAL4 ticket once, in 2014, and won the trophy by beating Barcelona and Kiel
  • including the first leg of the quarter-final, Aalborg have won the last three Champions League matches against Flensburg. The previous four games were won by Flensburg, with the latest in 2018
  • Flensburg’s top scorer in the Champions League, Gøran Søgard Johannessen (60 strikes), is just three goals ahead of Aalborg’s Nikolaj Christensen (57)
  • Flensburg have six Danish players in their squad. Three of them — Lasse Svan, Simon Hald and Mads Mensah — became world champions in January as teammates of Aalborg’s Henrik Møllgaard, Magnus Saugstrup, Nikolaj Christensen and Benjamin Jakobsen
  • in the Danish league, Aalborg lost 36:38 against Holstebro since the first-leg quarter-final, while Flensburg won 29:25 at Coburg to be equal with Kiel on top of the German Bundesliga table

Telekom Veszprém KC (HUN) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)
Thursday 20 May, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Nantes won the first leg at home, 32:28, last Thursday
  • in the opening quarter-final, Slovenian right wing Gasper Marguc netted eight times for the Hungarian side, while Nantes goalkeeper Emil Nielsen was magnificent with 15 saves
  • out of the seven away games they played this season, Nantes lost three, in Aalborg, Barcelona and Zaporozhye. Of their most notable away wins were victories in Kielce and Kiel
  • only two sides managed to take the points in Veszprém this season: Barça (37:34) and Aalborg (32:30)
  • the teams have never met in on Veszprém’s court — the first ever game between the two sides in Hungary was set for this season’s group phase but was cancelled due to Covid-19
  • since the first leg, Nantes grabbed another win in the French Lidl Starligue, winning in Istres 33:26. Veszprém also won their league game, 39:29 in Dabas
  • Nantes’ left wing Valero Rivera has scored 82 goals in the Champions League so far this season, while Veszprém’s top scorer Petar Nenadic has netted 66 times

Barça (ESP) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Thursday 20 May, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Barça won the first leg in Brest 33:29. Brest were equal until minute 55, at 28:28
  • for the Champions League record winners, it was victory number 31 in the last 32 matches of this competition
  • two left handers were the top scorers in the first leg: Brest’s right wing Mikita Vailupau, who netted 11 and is the second top scorer of the Champions League with 86 strikes now. Barça right back Dika Mem scored nine times and has 80 goals in his tally
  • both coaches will leave their teams after this season: while Barça’s Xavi Pascual has not revealed his future plans, Brest’s Raul Alonso will be become sports director for German Bundesliga club HC Erlangen
  • Barça have a run of 47 unbeaten Champions League home matches, with 46 victories and one draw since their last defeat, on 5 December 2015 against Kielce (31:33)
  • Barça have won all three duels against Meshkov so far
  • while Barça had to replace Raul Entrerrios, Aitor Arino and Blaz Janc for the first leg due to injuries, Meshkov were missing stars Marko Panic, Alexander Shkurinskyi and Artsiom Selvasiuk
  • while it is the first ever EHF Champions League quarter-final for Brest, Barça are part of this competition stage for the 21st time
  • Barça aim for their ninth participation in the EHF FINAL4
  • in the Spanish Asobal League, Barça top the ranking after 30 victories in 30 matches and sit nine points ahead of Irun, but they did not play last weekend

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