Two newcomers among Europe's elite eight
Both French sides will be facing last season’s semi-finalists in the quarter-finals. Paris will play titleholders THW Kiel, facing former player Sander Sagosen. Nantes, on the other hand, will play against Veszprem, trying to create the same kind of sensation they did in the Last 16 against Kielce.
Besides, the two quarter-final debutants Meshkov Brest and Aalborg Handbold face former Champions League winners, Barça and SG Flensburg-Handewitt.
THW Kiel (GER) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Wednesday 12 May at 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- the two teams have not met in the EHF Champions League since the group phase of the 2018/19 season
- out of the eleven times Kiel and Paris met, both teams won five games while one ended on a draw
- both teams played in the last EHF FINAL4 last December, with THW Kiel winning the trophy while Paris finished fourth
- Paris eliminated Celje in the Last 16 by winning both games (37:24, 31:23), while Kiel delivered the exact same result twice against Szeged (33:28, 33:28)
- only one goal separates the two teams’ best scorers: Paris’ Mikkel Hansen netted 72 times, once more than Kiel’s Niclas Ekberg
- both sides currently lead their domestic leagues, with Kiel tied at the top with Flensburg, while Paris have a four-point advantage over Montpellier
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
MOTW: Thursday 13 May at 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- the two sides met in the group phase of the EHF Champions League this season. Veszprém won their only meeting in Nantes 28:24.
- Nantes qualified for the quarter-finals by beating Kielce in the Last 16, while Veszprém easily booked their ticket against Vardar
- this is the third time Nantes reached the quarter-finals, after 2018 and 2019. They defeated Skjern in 2018 to qualify for their first EHF FINAL4, before losing to Barça the following season
- Valero Rivera (Nantes) is currently the second-best scorer in the EHF Champions League, with 76 goals, while Veszprém’s top scorer Petar Nenadic stands 15th position, having netted 60 times
- four French internationals will be sharing the court on Thursday in Nantes: the locals Theo Monar and Aymeric Minne, who enjoyed their first international game a few days ago, as well as the experienced Cyril Dumoulin and Veszprem’s Kentin Mahé
- Veszprém are currently the undefeated leader of the Hungarian league while Nantes stand third in the French Lidl Starligue, behind Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier
HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Barça (ESP)
Wednesday 12 May at 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- the only duels between the sides occurred in the 2018/19 season when Barça won both group matches clearly, 29:21 at Brest and 41:32 in Barcelona
- Meshkov qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time in their club history after eliminating Motor Zaporozhye in the play-offs
- Barça beat Elverum by an aggregate of 76:44 goals, the largest win of the play-offs
- Barça have their 21st participation in a Champions League quarter-final in their 24th season in the competition
- it is one of two duels between Spanish head coaches: Raul Alonso (Brest) will face Xavi Pascual (Barça)
- Alonso will finish his work at Brest after this season after three years; he will return to Germany, where he moved to with his family at the age of 16
- Brest will have to replace two key players: left back Alexander Shkurinskyi and defensive specialists Artsiom Selvasiuk - both are ruled out with torn cruciate ligaments
- Brest right wing Mikita Vailupau is third in the top scorer list with 75 goals, Barça’s best scorer is also left-handed, Dika Mem, fifth-ranked on 71 goals
Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Thursday 13 May at 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV
- Aalborg haven won the last two matches against Flensburg, a 32:29 at Flensburg and a 31:28 at home in the 2019/20 group phase.
- Aalborg have their first quarter-final ahead after a close win against FC Porto in the play-offs (56:56) thanks to the away goals rule
- Flensburg were winners of group A, while Aalborg finished fourth in group B, thanks to their longest winning streak in the competition with four victories
- Mads Mensah Larsen (now Flensburg) played for Aalborg, before he went to Germany and Rhein-Neckar Löwen
- Flensburg Champions League top scorer Göran Sögard Johanessen (58 strikes) is just one goal and one rank ahead of Nikolaj Christensen (Aalborg/57).
- Aalborg coach Stefan Madsen had worked in Germany as coach of former German women’s champions HC Leipzig
- In seasons to come, Aalborg will boost their quad with players such as Aron Palmarsson (2021, from Barcelona) and Mikkel Hansen (2022, from Paris).
- Flensburg have six Danish players in their squad, three of them (Lasse Svan, Simon Hald and Mads Mensah) became world champions in January as teammates of Aalborg’s Henrik Møllgård, Nikolaj Læsø, Benjamin Jakobsen and Magnus Saugstrup
- Aalborg have three wins, one and one defeat on their account in the championship phase of the Danish league, while Flensburg are joint-top of the Bundesliga with Kiel on 49 points