Six takeaways after Round 12
Round 12 of the VELUX EHF Champions League provided us with some interesting results. HC Meshkov Brest finally won, Paris-Saint Germain HB simply cannot lose at home and the reigning champions, Montpellier HB, are still fighting.
Here are six highlights from Round 12.
Barça keep a tight grip on Kristianstad
It is safe to say that FC Barça Lassa have kept a tight grip on IFK Kristianstad in Group A this season. The Swedish champions conceded 87 goals combined in the two matches against Barça: 44:25 in Sweden, 43:26 in Spain this weekend.
Barça are edging closer to the quarter-final. With four points left to play for, the group leaders are four points ahead of Telekom Veszprém HC and need just one more point from their last two games.
PSG a point from the quarter-final
Paris Saint-Germain HB are still unbeaten at home in the VELIUX EHF Champions League since November 2014. This weekend, they added a win against HC PPD Zagreb, 33:28.
Just like Barça in the other group, Paris are only one point short of securing the win in their group and a ticket to the quarter-final. Only MOL-Pick Szeged can challenge the French side for the top spot, being three points behind where there are four points left to play for.
Veszprém celebrate milestone with a win
Telekom Veszprém HC won their fifth game in a row in the competition, in the Match of the Week away against HC Vardar (29:27). It was a do-or-die match in their fight for the second place in the group, where the Hungarian side is positioned now. Perhaps the win was written in the stars, since Veszprém coach David Davis spent several seasons as Vardar’s assistant coach and knows the team inside out. He has certainly found the right track for Veszprém after a bumpy start at the beginning of the season.
This was Veszprém’s 300th EHF Champions League game according to their social media channels, winning over 67% of their games so far.
Brest avoid matching worst-ever run
After losing nine games in a row, HC Meshkov Brest avoided levelling their worst-ever winless run in the competition with a magnificent win against Rhein-Neckar Löwen in Group A, 27:24.
Brest lost 10 consecutive games in 2004/05 and again 2006/07, but avoided that to happen for the third time. Even though Löwen have secured their place in the Last 16, they have now lost four of their past five games in the competition.
Flensburg win after a fantastic drama
The game between SG Flensburg-Handewitt and RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko in Group B was fantastic entertainment. The match could have gone either way, but a penalty from Hampus Wanne earned Flensburg a dramatic win, 27:26.
Flensburg had to wait until Sunday before knowing their fate in the group, but eventually could celebrate their ticket to the Last 16 with two games left to play.
The champions are still fighting
Montpellier HB have had an awful season after winning the competition last year. However, they are still fighting for their place in the Last 16 and sent a strong message with a win against PGE Vive Kielce in Group A away from home, 28:27. Kielce could have gone above HC Vardar with a win, but the Polish side have lost three of their last four games now. However, they are still in the run for the second place in the group.
It was both an impressive outing and a potentially season-changing win for the French side. Montpellier are level with Meshkov Brest on seven points but hold the tiebreaker.