20211206 Magdeburg Green Main
EHF European League

Magdeburg and Nantes to host top duels in round 6

EHF / Björn Pazen, Kevin Domas, Tiago Nogueira, Ola Selby

The final round before the 10-week winter break of the EHF European League Men 2021/22 group phase takes place on Tuesday. Apart from several rescheduled matches, the competition will then return in full flow in mid-February.

In round 6 on Tuesday, the four top teams in group B continue their battle for the No. 1 spot, with HBC Nantes hosting SL Benfica in the 10,000-capacity XXL Hall the standout tie, as the first teams could already lock up a top-four ranking and thus qualification for the Last 16.

Another eye-catching matchup is on the schedule in group C, where titleholders SC Magdeburg take on RK Nexe in a duel between the two top-ranked sides.

In group A, Orlen Wisla Plock visit Bidasoa Irun and could close the gap to unbeaten leaders Füchse Berlin to two points, as the German side’s game at Pfadi Winterthur has been postponed.

Also, in group D, leaders USAM Nimes Gard face a trip to Grundfos Tatabánya KC, with Sporting CP and RK Eurofarm Pelister going head-to-head and possible take over the lead from Nimes if the French side were to stumble in Hungary.

20211206 Bidasoa Quote
Plock are one of the favourites of the group and they are a very powerful team, and even with everyone here at peak performance it would be very difficult to get the most out of it.
Jacobo Cuétara
Bidasoa Irun head coach

GROUP A

Tatran Presov (SVK) vs Fenix Toulouse Handball (FRA)
Tuesday 7 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Presov have lost the last four matches, including the away game at Toulouse last week (34:20)
  • last week’s match marked Toulouse’s biggest win in their European competitions’ history, and no less than 11 players made it onto the scorers’ list
  • Fenix are ranked third with four points, two points ahead of Presov
  • Pavel Caballero is Presov’s best scorer with 19 goals; Nemanja Ilic has netted 48 times for Fenix, including qualification rounds
  • Presov head coach Slavko Goluza: "We want to play at a high tempo, fight 60 minutes and finally score chances we create, because it is bad when you are playing well but you don't score goals"
  • Toulouse had a perfect dress rehearsal by beating EHF Champions League group A leaders Montpellier HB by six goals (32:26) in the French league this weekend

Bidasoa Irun (ESP) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Tuesday 7 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Irun have a busy schedule ahead: after Tuesday’s match, they will play the rescheduled matches against Pfadi (14 December) and Plock (16 December) next week
  • second-ranked Plock won three of their four group matches so far, being defeated only by leaders Füchse
  • Irun won two of the four previous duels with Plock, while Plock have won once; the other time they met the match ended in a draw
  • Plock beat Glogów 40:19 on Saturday and stayed on a perfect record in the Polish league this season: 12 wins from 12 matches

Pfadi Winterthur (SUI) vs Füchse Berlin (GER)
This match has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

GROUP B

GOG (DEN) vs TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER)
Tuesday 7 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after five rounds, Lemgo are joint group B leaders with Benfica, with eight points each; GOG follow one point behind
  • GOG and Lemgo have not met before in an official match
  • GOG head coach Nicolej Krickau: "Lemgo are not a typical German team. They play really structured – like many Scandinavian teams – but also very dynamic ... All in all, a really good team. But we are sure that we have a chance to win"
  • Lemgo lost their season opener against Benfica but have racked up four straight wins since
  • however, Lemgo lost in the German Bundesliga for a second time in row last weekend, this time against fellow European League contenders Magdeburg (29:25)
  • Lemgo head coach Florian Kehrmann: "GOG are a very well educated team in regard to the Scandinavian style in all parts of their team. With Bergerud and Hallgrimsson they have first-class goalkeepers, furthermore Gidsel probably is one of the world's best players always setting the highlights in their offense. We are awaiting a very tough away game against a Danish top team"
  • GOG defeated Skjern Håndbold 30:29 to remain the unbeaten leaders of the Danish league

Cocks (FIN) vs Chekhovskie medvedi (RUS)
Tuesday 7 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • one of the two teams – or both – will end their wait for the first group phase point(s) of the season; both are on zero points from five matches so far
  • Cocks and Chekhov have not played each other before
  • Cocks (119) and Chekhov (172) are the two teams in the group phase that have conceded the most goals so far
  • both teams won in their domestic league this weekend: Cocks in Finland against SIF (40:26); Chekhov in Russia at St. Petersburg (28:23)

HBC Nantes (FRA) vs SL Benfica (POR)
Tuesday 7 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the game will be played in the 10,000-capacity XXL Arena in Nantes
  • the only time Nantes played a European game in this arena was in 2017, when they beat Barça 29:25 in the EHF Champions League
  • Benfica are top of the group with eight points, while Nantes are third with one point less
  • Benfica have the second-best attack of the group phase with 167 goals; only GOG have scored more goals: 171
  • bot sides won their games in the domestic league last weekend: Nantes defeated Nîmes 34:26 in France; Benfica outscored Belenenses 40:28 in Portugal
20211206 Sävehof Quote
It is always special to play in the Balkan region as an away team, and historically it has been tough games for Scandinavian teams there.
Michael Apelgren
IK Sävehof head coach

GROUP C

RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Tuesday 7 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Velenje and Sävehof have not met before in an official match
  • Sävehof are coming off two straight victories over PAUC and want to add another win on Tuesday to keep pressure on leading duo Nexe and Magdeburg
  • Velenje are after their second win of the season, after beating Nexe in round 3
  • Velenje left back Peter Sisko: "We will prepare well for the opponent and do our best on the court. I invite the spectators to join us and help us to a new victory"
  • Velenje just lost to Celje (30:29) in the Slovenian league; Sävehof had an equally close win over Malmö (31:30) in the Swedish championship
  • Velenje were without Matic Verdinek, David Miklavcic and goalkeeper Aljaz Panjtar last weekend and the trio remained doubtful for Tuesday’s game

SC Magdeburg (GER) vs RK Nexe (CRO)
Tuesday 7 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • titleholders Magdeburg would go top of the group if they beat leaders Nexe; the German side also has a game in hand
  • Magdeburg won four of the previous six duels with Nexe
  • Magdeburg head coach Bennet Wiegert: "Things are going very well for us at the moment. We didn't let the draw in Logrono knock us down and we won in the Bundesliga against Lemgo, a strong opponent"
  • Nexe are without goalkeeper Moreno Car due to knee injury; 19-year-old Dominik Kuzmanovic will replace him
  • Magdeburg have extended the contracts with Marko Bezjak, Michael Damgaard und Gisli Kristjansson
  • Magdeburg remained top of the German Bundesliga with a 29:25 win over fellow European League contenders Lemgo; Nexe stayed in the lead in Croatia

BM Logroño La Rioja (ESP) vs PAUC Handball (FRA)
Tuesday 16 November, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • La Rioja had three close games in the last three rounds, but managed to earn just one point from them – a draw against Magdeburg
  • PAUC are still looking for their first win of the season
  • the teams have met once before – in an EHC Cup group phase duel in February 2020, which ended in a 29:29 draw
  • PAUC head coach Thierry Anti: "We are with our backs to the wall. And the wall is high, but we want to cross it"
  • La Rioja defeated Anaitasuna in the Spanish league over the weekend

GROUP D

Grundfos Tatabánya KC (HUN) vs USAM Nimes Gard (FRA)
Tuesday 7 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Nimes won the reverse fixture at home last week by two goals: 24:22
  • last week’s match was the first between the teams in a European competition
  • Nimes share the lead in group C with Sporting – both on seven points; Tatabánya are bottom of the table with two points
  • Tatabánya are coming off a home draw in the Hungarian league: 27:27 against Veszprémi KKFT
  • Nimes have a squad with almost only French players, with a strong blend of youth and experience

AEK Athens HC (GRE) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Tuesday 7 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Kadetten beat AEK 30:26 when the teams met in Switzerland a week ago
  • it was Kadetten’s first win of the season, after two draws and two defeats
  • Christodoulos Mylonas is standing out for the Greek side this season, with 26 goals so far
  • Mylonas: "When you play in AEK, you always play for the win. That is our goal also against Kadetten"
  • experienced Spanish players Joan Cañellas (Kadetten) and Cristian Ugalde (AEK) will face each other again

RK Eurofarm Pelister (MKD) vs Sporting CP (POR)
Tuesday 7 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Sporting are joint leaders in group D, but third-ranked Pelister are just one point behind and would overtake the Portuguese side with a win
  • the teams played to a 27:27 draw in Portugal last week
  • Sporting player Matevz Skok: "I know very well the kind of environment we are going to find there. It is going to be a challenge for my less experienced colleagues, but these are the kind of matches that are going to make them better players"
  • Sporting have not lost against Pelister in three previous meetings: before last week’s draw they had two wins in the Challenge Cup 2016/17
  • Pelister head coach Zeljko Babic: "My players showed a terrific character and fantastically presented the club, the country and themselves last week. We all know that it is difficult to win away points. The second match will be a mental battle, we have to be focused, and we have to be mentally strong and ready to wait for our moment."
  • both teams are undefeated in their domestic leagues so far

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