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EHF Champions League

Veszprém and Barça put their invincibility to the test

Björn Pazen & Kevin Domas

Veszprém and Barça are the only two teams in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League with maximum points. Can they keep their winning streak alive?

In group A, Veszprém will defend top spot away to GOG. Paris and Plock will try to keep up the pace of last season’s semi-finalists. PSG host Zagreb, who enjoyed their first win last week, while Plock face a tough trip to Magdeburg. Porto, the only team without a point will try open their record in Bucharest.

In the last round before the first break of the group phase, Barça are favourites in the Match of the Week at Elverum, having six points from three matches on their account. At Kielce, the four-time champions Kiel must stand a tough test like Aalborg at Szeged and Nantes at Celje.

GROUP A

CS Dimano Bucuresti (ROU) vs FC Porto (POR)
Wednesday 5 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the two teams are currently bottom of the table in group A. Dinamo are seventh with one point, while Porto are eighth with no points
  • last week, Dinamo lost by three in Veszprém (33:30) while Porto were defeated in Plock (32:27)
  • with 74 goals scored across the first three games, Porto currently have the least efficient attack of the competition
  • Dinamo and Porto played each other in the group phase last season with both team winning their away game by one goal
  • last weekend, Porto took the points in the Portuguese league in Avanca (28:23) while Bucharest did not have a game

GOG (DEN) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
Wednesday 5 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Veszprém are currently one of the only two teams to have taken the maximum of six points after three rounds
  • the Hungarian side currently tops group A while GOG are fifth, with three points
  • GOG head coach Nicolej Krickau: "We are ready to fight the entire game and do our best. We know, that if we do our best, we have a chance against all the teams in the group." 
  • the two teams have not played against each other since 1992 in the Cup Winners’ Cup. Back then, Veszprém won both confrontations by five goals
  • for the first time this season, GOG scored fewer than 30 goals in a game last week in Plock. On the other hand, no team has been able to contain Veszprém below 30 goals
  • last weekend, Veszprém added a fourth win to their streak against Gyongyosi (39:30) while GOG lost the top game in the Danish league against Aalborg (35:29)

SC Magdeburg (GER) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Thursday 6 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • after three rounds, Magdeburg and Plock are tied third in the group with four points
  • with 82 goals conceded, Magdeburg have the best defensive record while Plock have only let in five more in the first three rounds
  • Magdeburg lost their first home game since April 2022 last week against Paris Saint-Germain
  • Plock head coach Xavier Sabate: "For us, it is not important that Magdeburg lost their last matches, it only shows how strong their opponents were. We know it will be difficult because Magdeburg are playing very well, but we trust in our self, in our job and we will try to go there to get the victory"
  • the last time Magdeburg and Plock faced each other was in the European League semi-final in 2021, when Magdeburg qualified for the final after a 30:29 win
  • prior to that, the two teams faced each other in the 2002 Champions League, when Magdeburg won both confrontations
  • SCM suffered their first defeat in the Bundesliga this season last weekend in Flensburg (35:34) while Plock remain on top of the Polish win after beating Piotrkow (37:21)

Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Thursday 6 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Zagreb took their first points this season last week by defeating Porto at home
  • the Croatian side is currently sixth in the group with two points, four spots and two points behind Paris Saint-Germain
  • Zagreb have not won an away game in the Champions League since September 2018 in Flensburg. Since then, they drew four times away and lost 24 times
  • the two sides faced each other ten times since 2014. Paris won eight games, while one resulted in a draw (in 2016) and Zagreb took the win once (in 2014)
  • many players in history have worn both clubs’ jerseys, the most famous being Marko Kopljar and Igor Vori
  • PSG right wing David Balaguer: "The victory in Magdeburg gave us a lot of good vibes after a very frustrating loss in the French league. We will need it because Zagreb will come with the intention of creating a surprise and bringing us down at home."
Every match is a learning experience for us. We fought bravely in Barcelona last week, and are very much looking forward to our next match. We all know how good a team Nantes is, but on the other hand, we also believe in our qualities. Our goal is to give our best, and with help of our fans from the stands, who always give us that extra percent, I believe we can reach another positive result.
Gal Gaberšek
Celje goalkeeper

GROUP B

RK Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)
Wednesday 5 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Celje pushed Barça hard last week, but are still on those two points they took by beating THW Kiel 38:36
  • Nantes have four points on their account - and have won their last two matches against Szeged and Elverum
  • Celje have won one of four previous matches against Nantes, the last one in the 20210/21 season, 30:28 in France
  • Celje’s new arrival Aleks Vlah is currently top scorer of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League with 24 goals
  • In the Slovenian league, Celje took a 34:30 victory against Koper on Sunday, while Nantes won 38:35 at Saint-Raphael

Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)
Thursday 6 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Szeged have lost all three group matches so far against Barça and at Nantes and Kiel, while Aalborg have four points on their account
  • Aalborg’s top transfer Mikkel Hansen is third ranked in the top scorer with 20 goals, while the best Szeged scorers are Bogdan Radivojevic and Ricard Bodo on 13 goals each
  • Aalborg right back Lukas Sandell: "I am looking forward to go back to Szeged. They have a really good team and the games against them are always exciting. Last time we had trouble getting past (goalkeeper Roland) Mikler, so we need to be ready and fully prepared if we want to win over there." 
  • Szeged remained on top of the Hungarian league by winning 39:33 against Ferencvaros,
  • in the Danish league, Aalborg won 35:29 the top match at GOG on Sunday night
20211014 Szeged Elverum Radivojevic X2
Everybody can see how deep we are now in the Champions League. Obviously, it wasn't our wish to start the season like this, it was exactly the opposite. Now the most important is to do everything to come back and get better results. We can win matches against tough opponents, we showed it last season and now we have to find a way to come back. I hope it'll be in the next game against Aalborg which is a great team.
Bogdan Radivojevic
Szeged right wing

MOTW: Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Barça (ESP)
Thursday 6 October at 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Barça are the only team in group B with the the optimum of six points, while Elverum still have no points on their account
  • Barça have won all four previous duels with the Norwegian champions, including both play-offs in the 2020/21 season
  • the defending champions have the best defence of group B (86 goals conceded), while Elverum have the weakest attack (81 goals scored)
  • In the all-time table, Barça have recorded 270 victories in 353 Champions League matches, Elverum are on 23 victories in 89 matches
  • Both coaches have won the Champions League as players, Börge Lund (Elverum) in 2010 with Kiel, Carlos Ortega won it six times as a Barça player and steered his club to the 2022 trophy as their coach
  • Elverum’s only two victories in 12 matches against Spanish teams in EHF competitions were on home ground against Leon in the 2027/18 and 2018/19 seasons
  • with 22 goals, Barça’s right back Dika Mem is currently second best scorer, no Elverum player is among the top 30

Lomza Industria Kielce (POL) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Thursday 6 October at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • both sides have four points on the account, Kielce lost against Barça, Kiel against Celje
  • both sides are listed among the top 10 of the top scorer list: Patrick Wiencek (Kiel) is sixth with 19 goals, while Arkadiusz Moryto and Harald Reinkind are ninth on 17 goals each
  • both sides combine for four titles: Kiel won in 2007, 2020, 2012 and 2020, Kielce in 2016
  • Kielce’s goalkeeper Andreas Wolff will face his former club THW Kiel, for which he played until 2019
  • Kielce’s coach Talant Dujshebaev steered his former club Ciudad Real to two victories in 2008 and 2009 finals, but lost the 2012 final against Kiel with Atletico Madrid
  • like Dujshebaev, Kiel’s coach Filip Jicha won the Champions League as a player (2010 and 2012 with Kiel) and as a coach (2020 with Kiel)

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