MOL-Pick Szeged came back from six goals behind to win the first-leg clash 26:24 in Silkeborg last Sunday, but their Last 16 opponents Bjerringbro-Silkeborg are far from out of the running. However, the injury-hit Danish side will need a near-perfect performance in Szeged to clinch a place in the quarter-final for the first time.
• Bjerringbro-Silkeborg tallied half of their Champions League victories this season away from home, while Szeged lost twice at in their own arena.
• The Danish side have never reached the quarter-finals, and Szeged are aiming to make it to the last eight for the fourth time.
• Injuries played an important part in the first leg and will be a factor in the return clash on Sunday.
LAST 16, SECOND LEG MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN)
Sunday 2 April, 17:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com
Szeged fans did not fall into despair even though the first half in Silkeborg threatened to end the Hungarian side’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. They knew their team were capable of coming back from a deficit because they did exactly the same in the Hungarian derby, when they avoided a two-goal defeat in Veszprém that meant they moved ahead of their domestic rivals in the national league.
However, the first half in Denmark proved Bjerringbro-Silkeborg are not out of the running despite their home defeat. The Danish side, whose heavy injury crisis had a huge impact on the outcome of the first leg, came out firing on all cylinders and managed to build a six-goal lead by keeping the visitors to just eight goals in the first half.
With injury problems of their own, Szeged pulled off a great comeback, underlining their strength by restricting Silkeborg to only nine goals in the second half – despite missing their defensive stalwart Alen Blazevic, who was shown a direct red card as early as the 34th minute.
Comfortable but not calm
The two-goal advantage puts Szeged in a comfortable position, yet they will take on a side that won in Kiel during the group phase, which should be something of an alarm for Juan Carlos Pastor’s players.
So far only defending champions Kielce and Group B winners Vardar recorded victories at Szeged (both by two goals), and Silkeborg will need a near-perfect performance to do the same.
The Hungarian runners-up will be bolstered by the return of line player Bence Banhidi, as they look to reach the quarter-finals for the fourth time in their proud history.