Göppingen and Granollers out to end title droughts
Five years on from their last appearance in the final tournament of the secondary European competition, when they finished in an uncharacteristic fourth place, joint-record winners Frisch Auf Göppingen have a chance to win their fifth title at this level, and their first since it was rebranded as the EHF European League.
Attempting to prevent them even reaching the final are a side who have felt much more comfortable on the road this season, at least in the latter stages of the competition. Fraikin BM. Granollers are the first Spanish side to reach the EHF Finals Men since their third place finish in 2016 and the surprise package will fear no one in Flensburg.
Fraikin BM. Granollers vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (18:00 CEST)
Granollers will travel to Campushalle knowing it is their form in that arena that got them to the EHF Finals; they shocked Flensburg-Handewitt 35:27 in Germany in the second leg of their quarter-final having lost by one goal in the home leg.
It was a trick they also pulled off against Skanderborg in the last 16, but the victory over Flensburg was arguably the tournament's biggest shock.
Göppingen will therefore have to be wary, though their form in this competition has evoked memories of yesteryear, as they won all four knockout matches - against Valur and Nexe, respectively - to reach the final tournament again. Four-time winners, all coming in the 2010s, they are aiming to become the outright record holders in this competition.
Markus Baur took the reins in November and the team only suffered two defeats in the group phase, contrasting greatly with their Bundesliga form, where Göppingen are languishing in the bottom half of the table.
With 60 goals, Marcel Schiller is Göppingen's top scorer in the competition so far, while they will be counting on defensive specialist Blaz Blagotinsek one last time before he joins this weekend's absent hosts, SG Flensburg-Handewitt.
Granollers are taking a blend of youth and experience to the extreme in an attempt to break through Blagotinsek et al, their two top scorers in the competition are 39-year-old Antonio Garcia and 19-year-old Faruk Yusuf, with 81 and 65 goals, respectively.
Antonio Rama Garcia's men finished third in their group, but unlike Nexe and Sporting CP, who finished above them, are still in the competition, as they attempt to win this competition for the first time since 1996, when they retained the title they had won a year earlier.