Six teams enter the break with positive thoughts
The VELUX EHF Champions League has now reached a two-month break. Here are the teams which will go into the break with the biggest smiles after Round 10.
The action will return in February when Groups A+B will continue, while the play-off round involving teams from Groups C+D commences.
In the talking points after Round 10, we cover which teams head into the break with the biggest tailwind.
Danish delight at Bjerringbro-Silkeborg's qualification
Bjerringbro-Silkeborg had not qualified for the play-off round from Group C before Round 10, but a win against already qualified side Sporting CP 29:28 saw those two teams take the top two spots in the group. A draw would have been enough for the Danes to secure top spot in the group after winning the reverse fixture in Lisbon, but they secured first place in Group C with a narrow victory.
There was a fantastic atmosphere in the arena, and it was even more enjoyable for Bjerringbro-Silkeborg to achieve qualification in front of their own fans.
Vardar return to winning ways
Vardar had recorded just one win in their past five games before meeting PGE Vive Kielce in Group A on Saturday but returned to winning ways again after a tight match, 28:27.
Earlier this season, the Polish side had ended a four-game winning streak for Vardar, which was the start of Vardar’s rough phase. But even though the Macedonian side had been without a win for a while, this win was enough to move them up to second position in the group.
That is a good place for Vardar to be now when the competition is heading for a two-month break.
Dinamo advance for the first time
Dinamo Bucuresti were not guaranteed a play-off spot in Group D before the game against Wacker Thun, but they had an advantage against their competitors in the group. And a 33:29 win did the job to follow Wisla Plock through to the play-off round.
This is a big milestone for the Romanian side, as the club had never made it past the group phase in the VELUX EHF Champions League before. To further sweeten the deal, they grabbed top spot ahead of Wisla Plock because of their superior head-to-head record.
Dinamo Bucuresti's biggest European success is surely a reason for the club to celebrate.
Barça exceptional again
If you win your ninth game in a row, you are bound to feature in a list like this. But after scoring more than 40 goals for the second round in a row, and for the third time in 10 games, the praise for Barça Lassa's supreme attacking performances is at a season high.
On this occasion, it was HC Meshkov Brest who came up against the Spanish side at their home arena, where the hosts won 41:32. It is not surprising that no team has scored more goals than Barça Lassa in this season’s competition – 351 in 10 games.
A nine-game winning streak is Barça’s second best-ever in the competition, but their record of 12 is surely in danger in this form.
HC PPD Zagreb climb in Group B qualification race
HC PPD Zagreb were at the bottom of Group B before Round 10, but after a win against HC Motor Zaporozhye, 27:25, they climbed all the way up to fifth spot.
With only three points separating fourth to eighth in Group B, the win was particularly crucial for HC PPD Zagreb. For HC PPD Zagreb, the importance of earning points against the teams around them will be the decisive factor when the group phase comes to an end.
The win also provided Lino Cervar with a farewell gift, as he took control of his last Champions League match as the head coach of HC PPD Zagreb, leaving the club at the end of the year.
Cocks finish campaign on high note
Riihimäen Cocks ended their first ever season in the VELUX EHF Champions League with a bang after an impressive comeback against Orlen Wisla Plock.
Trailing by five goals at the half-time break, and by nine goals earlier in the game, Cocks eventually grabbed the two points with a last-second win 27:26. Cocks earned six points in their first season in the competition and can walk away proud of their overall performance.
It was symbolic that the hero at the buzzer was Nico Rönnberg, who scored eight goals in the game, as he is the top scorer in the competition with 72 goals in 10 games.
Author: Andri Yrkill Valsson / jw