Five things to remember from round 3
The EHF Champions League Men heads into a one-week break following round 3. But there is a lot to keep in mind from this week’s games.
While SG Flensburg-Handewitt in group A as well as Barça, Aalborg Håndbold and Telekom Veszprém HC in group B have all started with three wins from three games, Paris Saint-Germain HB have been left with zero points so far.
Here are talking points after round 3:
Flensburg, the untouchables in group A
MOL-Pick Szeged? Or HC Vardar 1961? Maybe PSG? If you had asked handball fans before the season who would top the group A standings after three matches, probably one of those three teams would have been the answer.
Few would have put their money on Flensburg. But the team of head coach Maik Machulla added a third victory this week, 36:29 against FC Porto, after previous one-goal wins against Lomza Vive Kielce and PSG.
Flensburg’s top position will be put to the test again in two weeks’ time against Vardar in Skopje.
Pesic gives Meshkov Brest the edge
Meshkov Brest took the two points against PSG on Wednesday, repeating their achievement from 2018, the last time both teams met.
At home, the Belarusian side can cause trouble for the biggest European sides, and one of the reasons is Ivan Pesic. The Croatian goalkeeper was, once again, in magnificent form against PSG, as highlighted by this save against Mikkel Hansen.
Troublesome PSG defeated twice
Never in the last five season had Paris lost two consecutive games in the EHF Champions League. But just that has happened to the start of their 2020/21 campaign, in which PSG suffered two one-goal defeats.
There are many reasons for it: a lot of new players to integrate, the departure of Sander Sagosen, goalkeeper who have yet to reach their full potential.
The French champions know they must turn the tide and win when play resumes over two weeks to stay in contention of the top spot in the group.
Barça and Veszprém already in rhythm
While PSG are waiting for their first points, two of the other pre-season favourites are already where we expected them to be. After three rounds, Barça and Veszprém share the lead in group B with Aalborg - all with the maximum six points.
Barça and Veszprém have not only been winning their games, they have also done so in style, as Barça demonstrated in Match of the Week at HBC Nantes.
With both playing against teams without points in the next round, Barça and Veszprém could continue their duel for top spot for some time to come.
Alexander Blonz’s special way of training
Elverum left wing Alexander Blonz led the top scorer’s ranking after round 1, having netted 10 times in Porto.
He has not been able to raise his tally since because of an injury. But Blonz is working hard to come back as early as possible to help his team.
However, it seems like his own special way of recovering could do with some improvement...