20220328 ELM L16 Preview Nantes Main
EHF European League

Big clubs set to duel for quarter-final tickets

EHF / Danijela Vekić, Björn Pazen, Kevin Domas, Tiago Nogueira

The EHF European League Men 2021/22 heads into its knockout phase on Tuesday evening with the eight first-leg matches in the Last 16 scheduled.

The starting grid includes 16 teams from 11 nations, with France and Germany leading the way with three teams each.

Titleholders SC Magdeburg will face Sporting CP, while the clash between last season’s finalists Füchse Berlin and EHF FINAL4 2021 contenders HBC Nantes looks like a final.

The interesting clashes coming up also include the Balkan derby between RK Nexe and HC Eurofarm Pelister, USAM Nimes Gard traveling to Slovenia and taking on RK Gorenje Velenje, and GOG trying to keep their high-scoring pace going against Bidasoa Irun.

20220328 ELM L16 Preview Sävahof Quote
It will be a young team against a more experienced side, and we are eager to see how we will handle such strong opponents.
Michael Apelgren
IK Sävehof head coach

LAST 16, LEG 1:

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Tuesday 29 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the aggregate winners face the winners of Lemgo vs Plock in the quarter-final
  • Kadetten finished third in group D, only one point below group winners Nimes and took 10 of their 11 points in the last seven group matches
  • Sävehof ranked second in group C with 12 points, seven behind group winners Magdeburg, and two ahead of Nexe
  • top scorer of Schaffhausen is left wing Samuel Zehnder with 61 goals, ahead of their top signing this season, Spanish EHF EURO 2022 finalist Joan Cañellas, with 32
  • Faroe Islands’ youngster Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu was Sävehof’s best scorer in the group phase with 60 goals
  • Kadetten top the Swiss league after 21 wins in 23 matches, including 33:29 against Kriens-Luzern on Saturday; Sävehof won the regular season of the Swedish league, but lost the first leg of the quarter-finals against Lugi 25:24
  • Kadetten coach Adalsteinn Eyjolfsson: “It will be a technically tactical game against a strong team. I expect a very fast and attractive game. It takes 120 minutes of hard work to qualify for the quarter-final.”

RK Nexe (CRO) vs HC Eurofarm Pelister (MKD)
Tuesday 29 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • true Balkan derby, with both teams coming from important wins in their domestic leagues
  • Nexe defeated HC PPD Zagreb 30:29, handing Zagreb their first defeat in the Croatian league in 15 years; Pelister beat two-time Champions League winners Vardar 24:23
  • boosted by confidence both teams will try to progress further, and Pelister arrived to Nasice three days prior to the match, showing their full concentration on the match
  • one of the competition’s best scorers, Nexe’s Halil Jaganjac, will face the best defence so far, as Pelister conceded just 248 goals in 10 group matches
  • both teams met once before in a European competition: in the EHF Cup 2018/19, they both won their respective home game

TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Tuesday 29 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the winners of this tie next week will face the winners of Sävehof vs Kadetten in the quarter-final
  • Lemgo finished fourth in group B, just three points behind group winners GOG; Plock won group A with nine wins from 10 matches, including the last match at Füchse Berlin
  • Plock reached the EHF Finals last season following wins over Sporting and GOG, but lost twice in Mannheim and finished fourth
  • Lemgo play their first international season after a ten-years absence
  • best Lemgo scorer in the group phase was Icelandic left wing Bjarki Mar Elisson with 74 goals; he will join Telekom Veszprém HC after the season
  • Lemgo are ranked ninth in the German Bundesliga; Plock are runners-up in Poland, behind Lomza Vive Kielce, with 19 victories from 20 matches
20220328 ELM L16 Preview Velenje Quote
We want to prepare for this match as much as possible. I want us to show our maximum in the game and play to win from the first minute.
Zoran Jovičić
RK Gorenje Velenje head coach

RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs USAM Nimes Gard (FRA)
Tuesday 29 March, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • it is the first European meeting between the two teams
  • Velenje reached the semi-final of the European Cup Men last season, losing to eventual champions AEK Athens
  • Nimes are one of three French clubs in the Last 16, a year after they went out in the group phase
  • Nimes boast the competition’s top scorer in the group phase: Mohamed Sanad, with 78 goals
  • Velenje are coming off a 35:23 win over Smartno and rank third in the Slovenian league; Nimes were defeated 33:23 at home by Montpellier in the French league

HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Füchse Berlin (GER)
Tuesday 29 March, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Nantes qualified for the Last 16 by finishing third in group B while Berlin finished second in group A
  • both sides played a European Cup semi-final last season: Nantes made it to the EHF FINAL4 while Füchse appeared at the EHF Finals
  • the two clubs have not played against each other since the EHF Cup 2014/15 qualification, when they both won their home game
  • Nantes’ best scorer so far is Spanish wing Valero Rivera, who netted 51 times; Jacob Holm and Milos Vujovic each scored 44 times for Füchse in the group phase
  • last weekend, Nantes took the points against Chartres in the French league (40:36); Füchse won 29:24 at Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Fenix Toulouse HB (FRA) vs SL Benfica (POR)
Tuesday 29 March, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Toulouse qualified for the Last 16 after finishing third in group A while Benfica finished second in group B
  • this season marks the first time Toulouse made it out of the group phase of a European club competition
  • Benfica’s best in Europe was reaching the Challenge Cup final twice, in 2011 and 2016
  • The teams have not met before in a European cup game
  • Toulouse goalkeeper Robin Cantegrel will leave the club after the season; Slovakian international Teodor Paul is his replacement
20220328 ELM L16 Preview Magdeburg Full Width

Sporting CP (POR) vs SC Magdeburg (GER)
Tuesday 29 March, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the ultimate winners of this tie will meet either Nantes or Füchse in the quarter-final
  • Sporting started the group with seven points from their first four matches, but then only added only four more points to finish fourth in group D
  • Sporting top scorer Jens Schöngarth (44 goals) will visit his native Germany in the return leg; leading Magdeburg scorer is Dutch international Kay Smits (42)
  • Magdeburg lost to THW Kiel in the German Bundesliga last weekend, only their second defeat this season across all competitions
  • Magdeburg were the only unbeaten team in the group phase, winning group C with 19 points from 10 matches
  • winning the first edition of the EHF Finals in 2021 marked Magdeburg’s fifth title in three different EHF club competitions, after winning the EHF Cup three times and the Champions League once

Bidasoa Irun (ESP) vs GOG (DEN)
Tuesday 29 March, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • while GOG finished first in group B, Irun grabbed their Last 16 ticket finishing fourth in group A
  • GOG reached the European League quarter-final last season
  • GOG have three players who scored more than 50 goals each in the group phase: Emil Madsen (60), Jerry Tollbring (59), and Simon Pytlick (52)
  • the teams have not met before in a European competition
  • last weekend, GOG won their Danish cup game in Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (35:26); Irun lost in the Copa Del Rey against Granollers

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