Last 16 could be fully booked after round 9

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

The EHF European League Men 2021/22 Last 16 might be sold out after the penultimate round 9 of the group phase on Tuesday.

The last four available tickets to the knockout phase could be booked by teams from groups C and D – the only groups where the top four has not been determined yet.

In group C, La Rioja can secure their place in the knockout phase. In order to do so, however, the Spanish side must beat Nexe while also hoping that last-ranked PAUC defeat Velenje.

In the wide-open group D, Sporting, Pelister and Kadetten could lock up the top four as Athens and Tatabánya would be left behind in that scenario.

Apart from the question which teams advance to the Last 16, the final two rounds of the group phase are also crucial to set the final standings in each group. Those standings determine which teams will play against each other in the first knockout round.


Fenix Toulouse Handball (FRA) vs Pfadi Winterthur (SUI)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • thanks to the 30:27 victory at Winterthur, Fenix qualified for the Last 16 while Pfadi went out of the race for the knockout phase
  • Fenix have 10 points but cannot finish second anymore as they lose the head-to-head comparison to both Plock and Füchse
  • Toulouse have qualified for a European knockout phase for the first time since 1999, when they reached the quarter-final of the Cup Winners’ Cup
  • two former Serbian internationals face as coaches: Goran Cvetkovic (Winterthur) and Danjiel Andelkovic (Toulouse)

Bidasoa Irun (ESP) vs Füchse Berlin (GER)
Tuesday 1 March, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Irun qualified for the Last 16 last week despite their clear 35:23 defeat against Füchse
  • Berlin are on 14 points after eight games; Bidasoa are ranked fourth with six points
  • Irun have a slim chance to finish in third place: Fenix must lose twice and Irun must beat Füchse this week and Fenix by at least three goals next week
  • Irun head coach Jacobo Cuétara: “It is a nice challenge against one of the best teams in Europe and the world. We have already qualified, we don't have any type of pressure and it is just about enjoying being in one of the biggest competitions in the world”
  • Füchse share the lead with Plock – and both teams will meet in round 10 next week

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs Tatran Presov (SVK)
Tuesday 1 March, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Plock are aiming to stay on top of the group ahead of the clash with fellow leaders Füchse next week
  • Plock have 14 points from eight matches and are level with Füchse; Presov, with just two points, are out of the race for the Last 16
  • Plock centre back Niko Mindegia: “We played recently against them and they had a lot of injuries. I think Tuesday’s match will be harder, we must keep our focus all the match and try to continue with a good dynamic”
  • Plock easily won the reverse fixture last week, as they had an 8:0 run to go from 15:10 to 23:10 and could save some energy in the closing minutes
  • Presov assistant coach Marek Gernát: “We had a difficult match against Wisla at home, allowing us to score only 15 goals. I hope that we will play with hunger and we will score more than at home”
  • Plock beat Tarnów 32:16 for their fourth straight win in the Polish league, where they still rank second behind Kielce
20220228 ELM R9 Preview Pfadi Quote
We still want to try and reward some of the good performances we have had at European level with more points. We also want to take advantage of the level and quality of the opponents in the EHF European League Men to develop further.
Goran Cvetkovic
Pfadi Winterthur head coach


GOG (DEN) vs SL Benfica (POR)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • GOG and Benfica share the lead in group B with 13 points
  • GOG will secure the top spot if they beat Benfica again on Tuesday; GOG won the first confrontation in Portugal 33:25, when Jerry Tollbring scored 11 goals
  • Tollbring is GOG’s best scorer in the competition, with 66 goals; Ole Rahmel has scored 69 times for Benfica
  • last weekend, GOG drew with Skanderborg (31:31) in the Danish league; Benfica took the points in Horta (35:27)

Cocks (FIN) vs TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • still searching their first point in the group phase, bottom-ranked Cocks are out of the race to the Last 16
  • Lemgo have qualified and are ranked fourth, but could still overtake third-ranked Nantes
  • Lemgo comfortably won the reverse fixture at home: 39:30
  • Cocks have conceded the most goals of any team in the group phase: 302
  • both teams lost in their domestic leagues last weekend; Lemgo went down against defending European League champions Magdeburg: 44:25

HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Chekhovskie medvedi (RUS)
Match will not be played following the suspension of Russian teams from EHF competitions.

20220228 ELM R9 Preview Velenje Quote
PAUC play very well in the French league and are currently third. For us, every opponent is difficult and we prepare equally for every match. We are aware of what the match brings us, so we will have to play as a collective and need to fight from the first minute.
David Miklavčič
RK Gorenje Velenje right back


SC Magdeburg (GER) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Magdeburg can lock up the top spot in the group if they do not lose against Sävehof, the second-ranked team that are three points behind
  • in round 4, Magdeburg won the first meeting with Sävehof in Sweden: 29:26
  • Magdeburg head coach Bennet Wiegert: “It was a very exciting game in Sävehof. We are looking forward to a great home game and want to defend the first place in the group”
  • Sävehof head coach Michael Apelgren: “We are looking forward to once again play against the team that probably is the best in the world. We will really give it an honest attempt, are aware that it will be extremely difficult, but it is worth a shot”
  • Sävehof travel to Germany as Swedish league leaders after a 22:20 win over Hallby; Magdeburg top the German Bundesliga and defeated Lemgo 44:25
  • Dutch player Kay Smits is Magdeburg’s best scorer with 35 goals; Faroe Island’s Elias Ellefsen a Skipagotu leads for Sävehof with 56

RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs PAUC Handball (FRA)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Velenje are in a battle-on-distance for fourth place with La Rioja; PAUC are out of the race for a Last 16 ticket
  • Velenje and La Rioja are both on five points, but Velenje can only advance if La Rioja drop at least a point as the Spanish side hold the head-to-head tiebreaker
  • Velenje have won two of their four home games so far
  • PAUC earned their only point in the competition with a draw in the reverse fixture at home against Velenje: 28:28 in round 4
  • Velenje beat Dobova in the Slovenian league and are ranked fourth; PAUC defeated Saran 30:27 and hold third position in the French league

BM Logroño La Rioja (ESP) vs RK Nexe (CRO)
Tuesday 1 March, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Nexe had a minimum victory over La Rioja in round 4: 31:30
  • Nexe are ranked third but still have a chance to overtake Sävehof and finish second if other results go their way
  • La Rioja will book the final Last 16 ticket from this group if the get at last as many points from their last two games as Velenje do
  • La Rioja and Velenje are both on five points, but La Rioja have the better result from their direct duels
  • La Rioja suffered their second straight loss in the Spanish league, against Ademar Leon, and are ranked fourth; Nexe defeated Porec 29:17 in the Croatian championship
20220228 ELM R9 Preview Athens Quote
With our fans behind us, we can beat every team. They help us a lot and on Tuesday we are waiting for them to support us again.
Patrick Lemos
AEK Athens HC centre back


AEK Athens HC (GRE) vs Sporting CP (POR)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Sporting qualify for the Last 16 if they get at least a point in Athens
  • AEK are out of the race if they lose; in that case they could still get level on points with Kadetten, but the Swiss side have won both direct duels
  • Athens and Sporting both lead their domestic leagues
  • Sporting won the reverse fixture in November – but only by a single goal: 31:30

Grundfos Tatabánya KC (HUN) vs HC Eurofarm Pelister (MKD)
Tuesday 1 March, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Pelister are ranked second but have not officially qualified yet for the Last 16
  • however, they will advance if they get at least one point against Tatabánya, or if Athens do not beat Sporting
  • Tatabánya still have a slim chance of reaching the knockout phase, but they need to win twice and have other results go their way
  • Tatabánya and Pelister also met in the European League last season, with Pelister winning both encounters
  • Pelister also won the reverse fixture at home in November: 33:20

USAM Nimes Gard (FRA) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Tuesday 1 March, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • leaders Nimes are the only team from this group to have booked their Last 16 ticket
  • Kadetten are ranked fourth and will secure their knockout berth if they win at least one of their last two group matches
  • but even if they were to lose twice, Kadetten could still make it through but would then need other matches to have favourable outcomes
  • the teams played to a draw in the first match in Switzerland: 25:25
  • Kadetten are still unbeaten after 20 matches in the Swiss league

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