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23 days ago - 11/23/2018

Every point counts as play-off race approaches climax

Just two rounds remain until this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase Knockout. With the race for the four coveted play-off spots heating up, every point counts and every goal might be crucial.

In Group C, Bjerrinbro-Silkeborg, Sporting CP and Tatran Presov are all on 12 points, and each face an opponent which cannot qualify anymore. So only a win counts for each of them.

In Group D, Elverum are firm favourites against Wacker Thun, while the winner of Wisla Plock against Ademar Leon will make a big step towards the play-offs.

GROUP C

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs Tatran Presov (SVK)
Saturday 24 November, 16:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • A win will see Presov come close to securing a play-off berth

  • Presov have the third-best defence (206 goals conceded) of the group phase, only Plock (200) and Leon (202) have done better

  • Chekhov won in Presov, and lead the head-to-head 4-3

  • Duel between two Olympic handball legends: Vladimir Maximov (gold as player and coach) and Slavko Goluza (two golds as player, bronze as coach)

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN)
Saturday, 24 November, 17:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Bjerringbro must win after last week’s slip-up against Presov

  • The best attack (261) meets the worst defence (237) of the group

  • Metalurg lead head-to-head 2-1, but both wins came back in 2012/13

Sporting CP (POR) vs Besiktas Mogaz (TUR)
Saturday 24 November, 18:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Sporting won twice and lost twice at home this season

  • Sporting won 33:27 in Turkey, and want another win to keep up with fellow group leaders Bjerringbro and Presov

  • Sporting won all three previous games against Besiktas by at least four goals

GROUP D

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs Abanca Ademar Leon (ESP)
Saturday 24 November, 16:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Top of the table clash with winner taking big step towards play-offs

  • Plock have a perfect winning record at home this season

  • Leon won the reverse fixture in October 27:24

  • Plock coach Xavier Sabaté faces Patrik Ligetvari, a player he coached at Veszprém and who joined Leon on loan last month

Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Wacker Thun (SUI)
Sunday 25 November, 18:10 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Elverum snatched a 30:29 victory in the reverse fixture, with a Simen Pettersen goal in the last second

  • One more point from their final two matches would make this Elverum’s most successful CL season

  • After 18 CL matches, Thun are still in search of their first victory

  • Elverum need at least a point to keep their play-off hopes realistic

Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs Riihimäen Cocks (FIN) 24:22 (13:12)
Wednesday 21 November, match review

Author: Tomas Cuncik, Chris O'Reilly / ew