Two debutants, three former winners and five Spanish coaches
After 112 group matches and 14 play-off clashes in the EHF Champions League, Europe’s top eight clubs are just 120 minutes away from June’s EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.
Barça lead the way in many of the rankings but the focus is also on two quarter-final debutants and an armada of Spanish coaches.
Here are the most impressive and important facts and figures prior to the first leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday and Thursday.
0 clubs have won and then defended their title in Cologne since the implementation of the EHF FINAL4 in 2010. Kiel have the chance to do so, less than six months after winning the 2020 title.
0 goals was the difference in the play-off between Aalborg and Porto, in which the Danish side proceeded due to the away goals rule.
0 pairings of the quarter-finals, like in the play-offs, feature two teams from the same country.
1 player has won two consecutive EHF FINAL4 events since 2010 - Ivan Cupic. After winning the 2016 title with Kielce, the Croat won in 2017 with Vardar and did it again in 2019.
1 male has won the trophy at Cologne as a player and a coach: Filip Jicha - 2010 and 2012 on the court, 2020 on the bench, both with THW Kiel.
2 teams are quarter-final debutants in the EHF Champions League: Aalborg Handbold and Meshkov Brest.
2 quarter-final pairings include two former finalists: Kiel vs PSG and Nantes vs Veszprém - Kiel are the only winners among them.
3 teams turned a defeat in the first leg of the play-offs around: Nantes, Aalborg and Brest.
3 head coaches of the eight quarter-finalists have won the EHF Champions League at least once as head coaches: Xavi Pascual (Barça/2), Raul Gonzalez (PSG/1) and Filip Jicha (Kiel/1).
3 previous EHF Champions League winners with 13 trophies among them are still part of the competition: Barça (1996-2000, 2005, 2011, 2015), Kiel (2007, 2010, 2012, 2020) and Flensburg (2014).
4 occasions in 8 home matches this season have seen Barça scored more than 40 goals.
5 Spanish head coaches are still part of the competition - and at least two of them will make it to Cologne: Xavi Pascual (Barça) faces Raul Alonso (Brest) and Alberto Entrerrios faces David Davis (Veszprem) in direct duels. The fifth Spaniard is Raul Gonzalez (PSG).
5 different nations were represented by the 12 previous winners of the VELUX EHF FINAL4: Germany (2010, 2012, 2020 Kiel, 2013 Hamburg and 2014 Flensburg), Spain (2011, 2015 Barça), Poland (2016 Kielce), North Macedonia (2017 and 2019 Vardar Skopje) and France (2018 Montpellier).
6 nations are represented among the eight quarter-finalists: France and Germany are represented by two teams each, Belarus, Denmark, Spain and Hungary have one each.
6 of 112 group matches and 0 of 14 play-offs ended in a draw.
6 of 8 teams still involved in the competition have been part of at least one EHF FINAL4 (inaugurated in 2010): Barça (eight participations, two trophies), Kiel (seven participations, three trophies), Veszprem (six participations, zero trophies), Paris (four participations, zero trophies), Flensburg (one participation, one trophy), and Nantes (one participation, zero trophies).
10 group matches and 0 play-offs ended with 70 goals or more.
11 matches - 7 of 112 group matches and 4 of 14 play-offs - ended with a difference of ten or more goals.
12 matches are yet to be played this season: eight quarter-finals and the four matches at the EHF FINAL4 on 12/13 June in Cologne.
16 victories in 14 group matches and two play-offs is Barça’s perfect record so far.
20 goals was the biggest win of the season when Barça beat Elverum 39:19 in the play-offs second leg.
21 times, including the 2020/21 season, Kiel and Barça have each made it at least to the quarter-finals in the EHF Champions League. Veszprém play their 19th quarter-final, Flensburg number 13 ahead of PSG (8) and Nantes (4).
19 goals in a single match was the lowest score of a team so far: first when Szeged lost the group phase match 25:19 at Porto, then Elverum’s 39:19 loss in Barcelona.
27 group matches in a row were won by Barça since the opening defeat to Szeged in the 2019/20 season. In total, Barcelona won 30 of their last 31 Champions League matches - their only defeat was against Kiel at the EHF FINAL4 in December 2020.
28 points, the optimum earned by Barça, is a new record since the group phase is played with eight teams per group. 26 points by PSG and Barça was the previous record.
+32 was the impressive goal difference of Barça in the play-offs against Elverum, ahead of +23 goals for Veszprém vs Vardar and +21 goals for PSG vs Celje.
41 goals in a single play-off match was the highest score, when Veszprém beat Vardar 41:27, the overall highest score by one team this season was 45 goals when Barcelona beat Zagreb 45:27 in the group phase.
48 away victories occurred in the 112 group matches (42) and the 14 play-offs (6).
59 times, 60 or more goals were scored in group matches (50) and play-offs (9).
61 times in 112 group matches (53) and 14 play-offs (8) the home side was victorious.
69 goals was the highest-scoring game of the play-offs, when Veszprém beat Vardar 39:30, 76 goals is the high-score for the season when Barça beat Zaporozhye 42:34.
90 goals were scored by Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce) to be the top scorer of the competition so far, ahead of Valero Rivera (Nantes) on 76, the best scorer still in the competition, and Mikita Vailupau of Brest on 75.
+125 goals is the impressive goal difference of Barcelona after 14 group matches and two play-offs, an average of +7.81 in every match.
300 – the EHF Champions League final against Barça on 29 December was THW Kiel’s 300th match at this level. Veszprém had the same record of 300 Champions League matches in the group phase, just when they beat Kiel 42:31.
581 goals scored by Barça is the most prolific attack of the season - an average of 36.1 in 16 matches.
835 goals were scored in the 14 play-off matches, an average of 59.6 per game.
6937 goals were scored in 115 matches this season, including 6102 in the group phase, an average of 60.3 per game.
Top rankings of the season so far:
76 goals: Barça vs Motor 42:34 (GP)
75 goals: Barça vs Aalborg 42:33 (GP)
74 goals: Vezsprem vs Kiel 41:33 (GP)
73 goals: Elverum vs PSG 29:44 (GP)
72 goals: Barça vs Zagreb 45:27 (GP)
72 goals: Flensburg vs Elverum 29:44 (GP)
44 goals: Porto vs Szeged 25:19
46 goals: Brest vs Vardar 24:22
47 goals: Zagreb vs Motor 23:24
+20 goals: Barça vs Elverum 39:19 (PO)
+18 goals: Barça vs Zagreb 45:27 (GP)
+15 goals: Veszprem vs Celje 39:24 (GP)
+15 goals: Elverum vs PSG 44:29 (GP)
+14 goals: Vardar vs Veszprem 41:27 (PO)
581 goals scored: Barça
523 goals scored: Vezsprém
460 goals scored: Kiel
453 goals scored: Aalborg
Best goal difference A/B after 14 matches:
90 goals: Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce)
76 goals: Valero Rivera (Nantes)
75 goals: Mikita Vailuapau (Brest)
72 goals: Mikkel Hansen (PSG)
71 goals: Viachaslau Bokhan (Zaporozhye)
71 goals: Niklas Ekberg (Kiel)
71 goals: Dika Mem (Barça)