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1 month ago - 9/20/2019

Big clashes on the schedule in groups A and B

A new and exciting round of the VELUX EHF Champions League is looming – and it is big for big clashes. In group A, Paris Saint-Germain and MOL-Pick Szeged, two of the main contenders for the top spot, will face each other on Sunday night, while Barça will try to snatch their first points of the season on Saturday when they meet Celje.

In group B, THW Kiel are once again featured in the Match of the Week, as they renew their huge rivalry with Telekom Veszprém HC. The two sides, who featured in three consecutive VELUX EHF Champions League Semi-finals from 2014 to 2016, will definitely provide entertainment. 

GROUP A
Barça (ESP) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)
Saturday 21 September, 20:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • These teams have collected a combined 10 Champions League trophies since the competition’s inception. Barça won nine while Celje lifted the trophy once, in 2004

  • Each time Barcelona defeated Celje in the Champions League Semi-final – which happened no less than three times – they won the competition

  • Barça and Celje lost their first games in the competition last weekend. The Spanish side could not stop Szeged, while Celje had to concede defeat to Flensburg

  • The last time they played against each other was in 2011, but the rivalry stretches all the way to 1997. Overall, Barcelona won eight contests and Celje four

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Sunday 22 September, 16:50 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Aalborg enter round 2 ranked second in the group, while Zagreb are currently in second-last position

  • The teams have never met in European competitions before

  • Zagreb are not afraid of trips to Scandinavian countries, as they came back from Skjern and Kristianstad with points in the last two seasons

  • “Last week’s win in Elverum was a good thing for us, of course. But our efforts will be reduced to nothing if we don’t win at home against Zagreb,” said Aalborg coach Stefan Madsen this week

Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Sunday 22 September, 19:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • These teams know each other very well, as they met in the group phase last season. Szeged were the only team to defeat Paris in that stage of the competition

  • Szeged’s new right back, Luka Stepancic, will be coming back to Paris for the first time

  • PSG have not lost a home game in the Champions League since November 2015

  • PSG coach Raul Gonzalez was one of the players for Valladolid when Juan Carlos Pastor, now Szeged’s mastermind, was on that bench 

GROUP B
MOTW: Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs THW Kiel
Saturday 21 September, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Veszprém enjoyed a superb night out last week, winning 40:28 against Motor and scoring the highest number of goals in the maiden round of the competition. Kiel drew against Kielce, 30:30, after the Polish side scored the equalizing goal in the last second

  • The Hungarian team are in superb form to start the season, earning nine wins in all competitions – by an impressive average of 11.5 goals per game

  • Kiel are still trying to help new coach Filip Jicha earn his first European cup win

  • The clubs have a long rivalry between them, facing each other 18 times in European cup competitions, with Veszprém taking 10 wins compared to Kiel’s eight. Kiel and Veszprém also played each other in the VELUX EHF Champions League Semi-final three times, in 2014, 2015 and 2016

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Saturday 21 September, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • The game will highlight coach Raul Alonso’s European debut in Brest’s Victoria Arena, where the Belarusian side were victorious in three out of their eight home games last season

  • Brest won only one game of their past four in the VELUX EHF Champions League, and are currently on a three-match losing streak

  • The French side are also on a three-game losing streak, as both sides failed to earn a point in the first round of the season

  • Brest and Montpellier met in the group phase during the 2018/19 season, splitting home wins

HC Vardar (MKD) vs FC Porto Sofarma (POR)
Sunday 22 September, 17:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Both sides have won their first game of the season, and now meet for the first time in European cup competitions

  • Porto left wing Diogo Branquinho was named the best player of round 1, after a scintillating display against Brest, when he scored eight goals

  • Despite losing nine players over the summer, title holders Vardar look like they have picked up where they left off last season, as they opened with a 33:31 victory against Montpellier in the first round

PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
Sunday 22 September, 20:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • The Ukrainian side earned only one win in the past five games in the top European competition, drawing one match and losing three

  • Motor start the season with two away games, and they lost the first one 28:40 to Veszprém – their third-worst defeat in the history of the competition

  • The Polish side earned their fourth consecutive win in the domestic league on Wednesday, 29:18, against Gwardia Opole

  • Kielce are undefeated against Motor, taking three wins and earning a draw versus the Ukrainian opponents. The sides met in the Last 16 in 2018/19, with Kielce taking an aggregate 67:62 win 

Author: Kevin Domas / Adrian Costeiu / cg