EHF Champions League

The numbers game

Björn Pazen / cor

The numbers game

After Tatran Presov (Slovakia) and ABC/UMinho (Portugal) took the last spots as the winners of the qualification tournaments on Sunday, the group phase of the 2016/17 VELUX EHF Champions League season is ready to begin. To celebrate the return of the competition, here are the most important facts and figures of the upcoming group phase and beyond:

0 times since the inauguration of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2010, have the champions defended their title. The last team to do so was BM Ciudad Real in 2009.

1 draw only will be held between now and the end of the season - for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 semi-finals in Cologne. All pairings of the Last 16 and quarter-finals are set by the rankings of the group phase.

1 person won the EHF Champions League as a player and a coach: Talant Dujshebaev. The current coach of Vive Tauron Kielce won the competition in 1994 as a player of Santander (ESP) and 2006, 2008 and 2009 as a coach of Ciudad Real, before steering Kielce to their first trophy in 2016.

2 winners of Groups A and B progress directly to the quarter-finals.

2 coaches led two different teams to the EHF Champions League trophies: Icelandic born Alfred Gislason (2002 SC Magdeburg, 2010 and 2012 THW Kiel) and Talant Dujshebaev (2006, 2008, 2009 Ciudad Real, 2016 Vive Tauron Kielce).

2 teams are debutants of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase: Holstebro (DEN) and Nantes (FRA).

4 participants of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2016 have qualified for the group phase again: Kielce, Veszprem, PSG and Kiel.

4 playoff matches featuring the two best ranked teams of Groups C and D in March will decide the remaining Last 16 spots

4 times each, Thierry Omeyer (Montpellier 2003, Kiel 2007, 2010, 2012) and Uros Zorman (Celje 2004, Ciudad Real 2008 and 2009, Kielce 2016) have won the EHF Champions League and are the most successful active players. Still, Andrej Xepkin is the individual record winner with seven trophies (six with Barcelona, one with Kiel).

5 countries are represented by the previous 22 EHF Champions League champions: Spain (14 titles), Germany (6), Poland, Slovenia and France (one each).

5 times only Spanish and/or German teams had qualified for the final of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 (2010 Kiel vs Barcelona, 2011 Barcelona vs Madrid, 2012 Kiel vs Madrid, 2013 Hamburg vs Barcelona, 2014 Flensburg vs Kiel). 2016 meant the first final without a Spanish or German team, when Kielce faced Veszprem.

6 times THW Kiel have qualified for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 so far, winning the trophy at Cologne twice (2010, 2012).

6 former or current EHF Champions League winners with a combined total of 15 trophies are part of the 2016/17 group phase: Kielce, Barcelona, Kiel, Flensburg, Montpellier and Celje.

6 pairings will compose the Last 16. Teams in the positions 2-6 of Groups A and B and the Group C/D playoff winners will face off.

6 former or current top scorers of the VELUX EHF Champions League are still on court in the 2016/17 season: Momir Ilic (2014/15  - 114 goals, 2013/14 - 103 goals, Veszprem), Mikkel Hansen (2011/12 - 98 goals for AG Kobenhavn, 2015/16 - 141 goals for PSG), Uwe Gensheimer (2010/11 - 118 goals, Rhein Neckar Löwen, now PSG), Filip Jicha 2008/09 - 99 goals, and 2009/10 - 119 goals for Kiel, now Barcelona), Kiril Lazarov (2007/08 - 96 goals and 2005/06 - 85 goals for Veszprem, now Barcelona), Nikola Karabatic (2006/07 - 89 goals for Kiel, now PSG)

8 times (1995-2000, 2011, 2015) FC Barcelona have won the EHF Champions League and they are the record winners.

8 former or current IHF World Handball Players of the Year are part of the 28 squads of this Champions League season, four of them are contracted by PSG: Arpad Sterbik (2005/Vardar), Nikola Karabatic (2007, 2014/PSG), Thierry Omeyer (2008/PSG), Slawomir Szmal (2009/Kielce), Filip Jicha (2010/Barcelona), Mikkel Hansen (2011, 2015/PSG), Daniel Narcisse (2012/PSG) and Domagoj Duvnjak (2013/Kiel). Kielce coach Talant Dujshebaev  was awarded twice (1994, 1996).

14 times Spanish teams have won the EHF Champions League - Barcelona (8), Ciudad Real (3), Santander, Irun and Portland (each 1).

14 rounds will be played in Groups A and B. Groups C and D will play 10 rounds, followed by two rounds in the playoffs.

19 different nations (one less than last season) are represented by the 28 group phase participants. Germany and France have three clubs each, Spain, Denmark, Hungary, FYR Macedonia and Poland each two.

20 matches is the maximum, participants of the 2016 edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL 4 will play, unless they skip the Last 16 or progress from Groups C/D.

23 Champions League participations in 24 years since the start of the competition in the 1993/94 season give RK Zagreb this record ahead of Veszprem and Celje (22 participations each).

24 teams, which had been among the 28 group phase participants of the 2015/16 season, have qualified for this stage again. Danish sides, Bjerringbro and Holstebro, as well as Braga and Nantes were not in last season’s competition.

28 teams are part of the group phase, split in eight teams each in Groups A and B and six teams each in Groups C and D.

57.03 goals were scored in average in all 160 matches of the 2015/16 VELUX EHF Champions League season.

141 goals were scored by current World Handball Player of the Year and Olympic champion Mikkel Hansen for PSG to become top scorer of the 2015/16 season.

208 matches will be carried out in the 2016/17 season of the VELUX EHF Champions League. After those eight qualification matches, which took place already, 172 group matches, four Group C/D playoffs, 12 Last 16 matches, eight quarter-finals and four matches at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will follow.

496 goals were conceded by Paris in their 18 matches of the 2015/16 season, which was the competition’s best defensive record.

614 goals were scored by Kielce in their 20 matches of the 2015/16 season, which is the best attacting record.

11,522 goals were scored the 2015/16 VELUX EHF Champions League season, 248 in qualification, 9619 in the group phase, 249 in the playoff matches of Groups C/D, 704 in the Last 16 matches, 456 in the quarter-finals and 246 at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

15,200 spectators attended the fans attended Zagreb’s two matches against PSG in the group phase and quarter-final and the group phase match against Veszprem, the highest attendance in the 2015/16 season prior to the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

19,750 fans are expected for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 once again on 3/4 June 2017.

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