Facts & figures as Zagreb meet Zebras in MOTW
The Croatian capital is the venue for round 1's Match of the Week in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2023/24, as THW Kiel travel to face HC Zagreb in group A on Thursday, 14 September, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV.
Before the crunch clash, this is your chance to brush up on all the most significant fact and figures ahead of the game!
Facts and Figures
- Zagreb are beginning their 30th EHF Champions League season - the competition's record - while Kiel are making their 26th appearance.
- In 25 previous participations, Kiel made it to the quarter-finals 22 times, were finalists eight times and as four-time winners are the second most successful team ever behind Barça (10 trophies).
- Zagreb have been Champions League finalists four times, but have never taken the trophy.
- Below Barça (368) and Veszprém (350), Kiel (346) and Zagreb (330) are the only clubs to have played more than 300 EHF Champions League matches.
- Zagreb and Kiel have faced each other 18 times before; the Croatian side have won five times, tied three times and lost 10 times; Zagreb’s last victory dates back to a 29:22 in September 2015, while Kiel have won the last five encounters.
- THW team captain Domagoj Duvnjak played for Zagreb until 2009, then moved to Hamburg and joined Kiel in 2014; this will be his 11th Zagreb/Kiel duel, twice playing for the Croatians, and eight times for THW
- Kiel lost two key players who both returned to their home countries: Niklas Landin to Aalborg (DEN), Sander Sagosen to Kolstad (NOR).
- Among Kiel's new arrivals is World and Olympic champion Vincent Gerard, who replaces Landin in goal (but is currently injured), and Faroe super talent Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu.
- Besides Gerard, line player Hendrik Pekeler and right back Steffen Weinhold are ruled out with long-term injuries. As Weinhold’s replacement, Kiel signed Spaniard Eduardo Gurbindo from Dinamo Bucuresti.
- THW won the first trophy of the season in Germany, beating Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the Super Cup after a penalty shoot-out.
- Two Zagreb players – Ivan Cupic (Rhein-Neckar Löwen) and new team captain Jakov Gojun (Füchse Berlin) – and coach Slavko Goluza (Nettelstedt) - have played for German clubs before.
- Two Zagreb players left this summer to Germany, both to Balingen: Csaba Leimeter and Nikola Grahovac
- THW coach Filip Jicha is the only person to be an EHF Champions League winner at the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne as a player (2010, 2012) and as a coach (2020).
- Zagreb’s wing Ivan Cupic was the first ever player to defend his title at the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. In 2016 he won the trophy with Kielce, in 2017 (and 2019) with Vardar. The other EHF Champions League winner in Zagreb’s current squad is Timur Dibirov (2017 and 2019, also with Vardar).
- Zagreb count on players from six different countries (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, Cuba and Russia), while players from 10 nations are represented in Kiel’s squad (Germany, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Sweden, Faroe Islands, Spain, Denmark and Norway).
- Both sides are record champions and record cup winners in their respective countries.