Six Spanish coaches still in race for Cologne
Six nations and four former winners are part of the quarter-finals of the VELUX EHF Champions League, while only one team (Nantes) turned a first-leg defeat into a ticket to the next round in the Last 16.
Eight times 60 minutes are coming up before the four VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants will be confirmed.
After the completion of the Last 16 on Sunday night, here are the most important Facts and Figures.
0 quarter-final debutants are among the eight teams, compared to two last season.
0 clubs defended their title the next year since the implementation of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2010. The history will continue at the 10th edition as defending champions Montpellier became the first defending champions to even miss the Last 16.
1 team that lost the first leg of the Last 16 (Nantes, against Rhein-Neckar Löwen), made it to the quarter-finals. Last year, it was not a single team.
1 quarter-final pairing is the same as last season: Kielce vs PSG, which was also one of the semi-finals in 2016.
1 of last year’s four VELUX EHF FINAL4 2018 participants is already out: Montpellier. Nantes, Paris and Vardar still have the chance to return to LANXESS arena.
1 draw was the result after 12 Last 16 matches: the 33:33 of Zaporozhye and Kielce in the first leg.
1 goal on aggregate was the smallest winning margin in the Last16 duels: Nantes defeated Löwen 62:61.
1 of the eight quarter-finalists never made it to Cologne: Pick Szeged. The Hungarian side were quarter-finalists in 2015 and 2017 but lost both times.
1 player has won the trophy two years in succession in the current format since 2009/10 - and is still in competition: Ivan Cupic. After winning the 2016 title with Kielce, the Croat won with Vardar the following year.
1 participant of previous VELUX EHF FINAL4 tournaments has been eliminated in the Last 16: Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Last year Veszprém, Barça and Löwen failed in the Last 16.
2 French teams – after three VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants in 2018 – are among the eight-quarter-finalists: PSG and Nantes.
2 teams – Barça Lassa from Group A and Paris Saint-Germain from Group B – qualified directly for the quarter-finals.
2 Hungarian teams are part of the quarter-finals compared to zero one year ago.
2 – which means all – Group C/D play-off winners were eliminated in the Last 16: Plock and Sporting CP. One year ago, both Skjern and Montpellier made it to the quarter-finals.
4 teams – Veszprém, Vardar, Szeged and Flensburg - won both legs of their Last16 tie.
5 times in the 12 Last 16 matches, the fans saw more than 60 goals, topped by Löwen’s 34:32 first-round win against Nantes.
3 coaches still involved in the competition have won the EHF Champions League at least once as coaches: Talant Dujshebaev (Kielce/4 titles), Xavi Pascual (Barça/2), and Raul Gonzalez (PSG/1). David Davis (Veszprém) and Roberto Parrondo (Vardar) won the EHF Champions League as players of Ciudad Real.
4 times in a row, Brest qualified for the Last 16 but missed the quarter-finals.
4 times 70 or more goals were scored in a single match since the start of the group phase, but none in the Last 16.
4 previous EHF Champions League winners holding 11 trophies are still part of the competition: Barça (1996-2000, 2005, 2011, 2015), Flensburg (2014), Kielce (2016) and Vardar (2017). Also, three former EHF Champions League finalists - Veszprém (2002, 2015, 2016), Paris (2017) and Nantes (2018) - have made it to the knock-out stage.
4 former or current IHF World Handball Players of the Year are still in competition: Nikola Karabatic (2007, 2014, 2016/PSG), Mikkel Hansen (2011, 2015, 2018/PSG), Thierry Omeyer (2008/PSG) and Arpad Sterbik (2005/Vardar). Last year it was seven.
5 times in a row, Rhein-Neckar Löwen have been eliminated in the Last 16 (by Szeged, Zagreb, Kiel, Kielce and now Nantes).
5 former or current top scorers of the VELUX EHF Champions League are still on court in the quarter-finals: Uwe Gensheimer (2017/18 – 92 for PSG, 2016/17 - 115 for PSG, 2010/11 - 118 goals for Rhein Neckar Löwen, now PSG), Mikkel Hansen (2011/12 - 98 goals for AG Kobenhavn, 2015/16 - 141 goals for PSG, now PSG), Momir Ilic (2013/13 – 103 goals for Veszprém, 2014/15 – 114 goals for Veszprém, now Veszprém), Kiril Lazarow (2007/08 - 96 goals and 2005/06 - 85 goals for Veszprém, now Nantes), Nikola Karabatic (2006/07 - 89 goals for Kiel, now PSG).
5 different nations have won the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in the past five years: Germany (2014 Flensburg), Spain (2015 Barcelona), Poland (2016 Kielce), North Macedonia (2017 Vardar) and France (2018 Montpellier). All those nations are also still in the race for the 2019 trophy.
5 of 8 last season’s quarter-finalists have made it to the quarter-finals again: Nantes, Vardar, PSG, Kielce and Flensburg. Montpellier and Skjern missed to qualify from the group phase, Kiel didn’t qualify for the EHF Champions League.
5 Last 16 matches were attended by 5,000 fans or more.
6 of eight quarter-finalists are coached by Spaniards: Barça (Xavi Pascual), PSG (Raul Gonzalez), Veszprém (David Davis), Szeged (Juan Carlos Pastor), Vardar (Roberto Parrondo), Kielce (Talant Dujshebaev). At least two of them will make it to Cologne, as Vardar play Szeged and Kielce play Paris in the quarter-finals.
7 of 8 teams still involved in the competition have been part of at least one VELUX EHF FINAL4 (inaugurated in 2010): Barça (six participations, two trophies), Veszprém (four, zero), Kielce (three, one), PSG (three, zero), Vardar (two, one), Flensburg (one, one), Nantes (one, zero).
6 different nations are represented by the eight quarter-finalists – France, Hungary (two each), Spain, Germany, North Macedonia and Poland (one each).
7 of 12 Last 16 matches were won by the home team, including all matches of the second leg.
9 of 9 times the LANXESS arena has been sold out for the VELUX EHF FINAL4. The contract with the arena to host the event runs until 2020.
12 goals were the biggest overall margin in a Last 16 pairing – Flensburg’s 60:48 win over Meshkov Brest. Vardar were 11 goals ahead of Zagreb (59:48).
13 of 188 matches so far (group phase, play-offs, Last 16) ended with a difference of 10 or more goals, including one in the Last 16 (Flensburg vs Brest 30:20).
12 matches still have to be played until the VELUX EHF Champions League winner of the 26th season is confirmed on 2 June in Cologne: eight quarter-finals, two semi-finals, the 3/4 placement match and the final.
13 of 188 matches so far ended in a draw, including one in the Last 16, the 33:33 of Zaporozhye vs Kielce.
19 times have Barça been part of the EHF Champions League Quarter-final, for Veszprém it is the 17th time, for Flensburg the 13th.
19 goals were the biggest winning margin in the 188 matches so far, when Barça won 44:25 at Kristianstad in the group phase.
34.7 goals were scored in average by Barça so far.
36 straight unbeaten EHF Champions League home matches is the record held by Paris Saint-Germain since a 27:25 defeat against Kiel in November 2014.
38 goals scored in the group match Cocks vs Leon (19:19) were the lowest score of the group phase, followed by the Last 16 game Szeged vs Plock with 39 goals (23:16).
39 group matches – including six in the Last 16 - were attended by 5,000 and more fans. Last season it was 40 at that stage of the season.
42 goals only were the lowest score of a Last 16 match, when Szeged won 22:20 at Plock.
44 was the highest number of goals scored by a team in a single match, when Barça won 44:25 at Kristianstad.
45 goals in 120 minutes were enough for Szeged to book the quarter-final ticket against Plock (22:20, 23:16).
56.96 goals have been scored in average in the 188 do far this season.
63 of the 188 matches far featured 60 or more goals.
66 was the highest amount of goals in a Last 16 match: Löwen vs Nantes 34:32.
70 of the 188 matches ended in an away victory, including four in the Last 16.
78 was the highest amount of goals in a single match so far this season: Kielce vs Barça 36:42.
91 goals were scored by Andy Schmid (Rhein-Neckar Löwen) so far. The best scorer, still in competition, is fifth-ranked Alex Dujshebaev (81 goals for Kielce).
105 matches since the start of the group phase were won by the home teams.
670 goals were scored in the 12 Last 16 matches – compared to 672 in 2018 and 633 in 2017.
7,836 fans were the highest attendance at a Last 16 match, when Zagreb hosted Vardar.
10,708 goals have been scored since the start of the season, including 10,038 in the group phase and play-offs. Last year at the same time, but including four more matches, it was 10,818 goals.
13,336 fans attended the two Last 16 matches of Vardar and Zagreb.
55,386 spectators attended the 12 Last 16 matches, which means an average of 4,615.
Top 5 rankings after the Last 16:
78 goals: Kielce vs Barça 36:42 (GP)
73 goals: Barça vs Brest 41:32 (GP)
71 goals: Kielce vs Veszprém 35:36 (GP)
70 goals: Skjern vs Zaporozhye 37:33 (GP)
69 goals: Löwen vs Barça 35:34 (GP)
…66 goals: Löwen vs Nantes (34:32 (L16)
38 goals: Cocks vs Leon 19:19 (GP)
39 goals: Szeged vs Plock 23:16 (L16)
42 goals: Plock vs Szeged 20:22 (L16)
43 goals: Leon vs Cocks 23:20 (GP)
43 goals: Celje vs Flensburg 23:20 (GP)
43 goals: Nantes vs Zagreb 23:20 (GP)
43 goals: Zagreb vs Flensburg 21:22 (GP)
Biggest winning margins:
+19 goals: Kristianstad vs Barça 25:44
+16 goals: Plock vs Cocks 34:18
+13 goals: Besiktas vs Bjerringbro 24:37
+12 goals: Chekhovskie Medvedi vs Presov 38:26
+11 goals: Zagreb vs Paris 21:32
…+10 goals: Flensburg vs Brest 30:20 (L16)
91 goals: Andy Schmid (Rhein-Neckar Löwen)
87 goals: Barys Pukhouski (Zaporozhye)
87 goals: Melvyn Richardsson (Montpellier)
85 goals: Zlatko Horvat (Zagreb)
81 goals: Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce)
Top scorer, still in competition:
81 goals: Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce)
70 goals: Kiril Lazarov (Nantes)
69 goals: Valero Rivera (Nantes)
67 goals: Dainis Kristopans (Vardar)
65 goals: Ivan Cupic (Vardar)
65 goals: Timur Dibirov (Vardar)