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18.10.2016, 15:06◄ last page     

GROUP A PREVIEW: Veszprém eager to stop Barcelona's run, while German duo out for victories after losses on home court

Unbeaten giants set to clash in Round 5


Before the VELUX EHF Champions League will have a two-week EHF EURO 2018 Qualification break, the fifth round of Group A will see a top duel at Barcelona and two German sides in favourite roles.

• Flensburg and Plock meet for the fifth time in 24 months
• Kiel and Kadetten come head to head for the first time
• Two Spanish coaches with unbeaten sides to clash: Pascual (Barcelona) Sabate (Veszprém)
• Bjerringbro-Silkeborg welcome home their two Olympic heros Hansen and Möllgaard

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Wednesday, 18:30 hrs. local times, live on ehfTV.com

After failing twice against Veszprém (24:24) and Barcelona (27:28), now Flensburg hope for an anniversary victory against Plock. If the 2014 Champions League winner beat the Polish runners-up, it would be their 100th home win in the Champions League.

Both side have lost their previous matches, Flensburg 22:27 in Paris and Plock only 200 kilometres North of Flensburg, 24:33 to Bjerringbro.

Currently Flensburg are in sixth position in the group, one place and two points ahead Plock, who took their so far only point in their draw against Veszprém.

It is already the fifth duel between both sides in 24 months, as they were drawn in the same groups in the 2014/15 and the 2015/16 seasons. While Flensburg won both encounters in the previous season, Plock took their last win in March 2015 31:29 on home court.

THW Kiel (GER) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Saturday, 17:30 hrs local times, live on ehfTV.com

Never before have Kiel and Kadetten locked horns in an official match. And in the premiere the only former Kadetten player, who now is part of the THW squad, is ruled out by injury. Christian Dissinger, who played two years for the Swiss champions (2012-2014) won’t make it onto the court this Saturday.
While Kiel have four points on their account and are in the favourite role in the German-Swiss encounter, Kadetten still wait for their first points. Both sides have lost their matches in round 4 against top teams: Kadetten against Barcelona, Kiel in Veszprem.

FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP) vs Telekom Veszprém (HUN)
Saturday, 19:15 hrs. local times, live on ehfTV.com

It is the re-match of the 2015 VELUX EHF Champions league final and the duel of two of the most traditional Champions league participants: Barcelona, the No.1 in the all-time Champions League ranking, play their 20th season in this competition, while third ranked Veszprém side are part of the Champions League for the 22nd time.

In the current ranking of Group A, Barcelona are the only side with four wins in four matches, while Veszprém are unbeaten, too, but have already two draws (at Flensburg and Plock) on their account.

Though both sides have such a long Champions league tradition, it is the first time since 1999 that Barcelona and Veszprém face in a group match.

Later on, Barcelona constantly eliminated the Hungarian record champions in all knockout stages: Last 16, quarter-finals and the final. The overall statistic states 11 Barca wins, one draw and four Veszprém victories.

The duel is the only one in this group, in which two Spanish coaches clash – Xavi Pascual (Barcelona) and Javier Sabate (Veszprém).

Barcelona have not been beaten on home court by Veszprém before, their last home defeat dates from 18 February 2012, a 30:31 against Zagreb. Veszprém have not won an away match in the current season.

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA)
Sunday, 16:50 hrs. local times in Herning, live on ehfTV.com

When Mikkel Hansen comes home, the host can even sell-out the biggest arena in Denmark: BSV move to Herning (capacity more than 13,500 fans) for the top match against Paris Saint-Germain and the homecoming of the two Danish Olympic champions Mikkel Hansen and Henrik Möllgaard.

But mainly it is the current World Handball player of the Year, who attracts the masses.

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg will have their fourth straight home match – and the confidence to cause a huge upset is high after the first home win against Plock (33:24). Having four points – all of them against direct opponents for a Last 16 spot – on their account, BSV can take the match quite easy, without pressure.

After their opening defeat at Kiel, PSG won all their three following matches, including the MOTW against Flensburg last Sunday, when Nikola Karabatic had his international comeback.

On the other hand, the comeback of Michael V. Knudsen boosted the confidence of BSV already against Plock as well as the news that coach Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen extended his contract until 2019. But still, and due to the width and quality of their squad, PSG are the favourites.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc

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