Nexe and Benfica target dream end to breakthrough seasons
After a thrilling end to the EHF European League Women saw the first international title of the 2021/22 season decided earlier in May, the EHF Finals Men have arrived and the new champions in the men’s competition will soon be crowned.
Or will they be the same champions? SC Magdeburg, who raised the trophy last season, are one of the four teams left standing in the race for the 2021/22 title. They will open the EHF Finals Men against RK Nexe in the first semi-final, before SL Benfica meet Orlen Wisla Plock in the second.
SC Magdeburg (GER) vs RK Nexe (CRO)
Saturday 28 May, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- Magdeburg have won seven of eight previous duels against Nexe, including two in the 2021/22 group phase. The only Nexe victory was in 2012
- Magdeburg are the defending champions and were also part of the EHF Finals in 2017 and 2018. They won the EHF Cup three times and the EHF Champions League once
- SCM have the chance to win up to three trophies this season, after taking the IHF Super Globe early in 2021/22 and currently being clear number one in the German Bundesliga
- Nexe are the first ever Croatian team to qualify for any final tournament in any EHF European cup competition
- Nexe are currently playing the finals of the Croatian league against PPD Zagreb. In the regular season they caused Zagreb’s first defeat in 15 years, but lost the first final match
- with 97 goals since the start of the group phase, Nexe’s Halil Jaganjac is currently the top scorer still in the competition. Magdeburg’s top scorers are Michael Damgaard and Omar Ingi Magnusson, with 54 goals each
- Magdeburg are the only unbeaten team in the competition with 12 victories and two draws since the start of the group phase. They eliminated Nantes in the quarter-finals, while Nexe have a balance of eight victories, one draw and five defeats, and beat GOG in the quarter-finals
Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs SL Benfica (POR)
Saturday 28 May, 18:30 CEST, live on EHFTV
- it is the first ever official match between these teams, but Plock eliminated Benfica’s local rival Sporting in the EHF European League Men Last 16 in 2020/21 and Benfica were knocked out by Polish side Opole in the qualification for the EHF Cup 2017/18
- Plock qualified for the premiere of the EHF Finals in Mannheim in 2021, finishing fourth, while it is the debut for Benfica. Benfica are the second Portuguese team at the finals of the second-tier European cup competition after FC Porto in 2019. Benfica’s major international successes were two final appearances in the EHF Challenge Cup in the 2010/11 and 2015/16 seasons
- Wisla have only lost one European League match since the start of the group phase (against Berlin) and have won 12 matches and drawn once. They eliminated Kadetten Schaffhausen in the quarter-finals
- Plock will miss their Spanish centre back Niko Mindegia, who tore ligaments in his right knee in a domestic league match against Kielce this week
- Benfica sensationally beat last year’s EHF Finals hosts Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the qualification stage, following that with nine victories, two draws and three defeats since the start of the group phase. They eliminated Velenje in the quarter-finals
- both head coaches are Spaniards and also coach national teams: Chema Rodriguez (Benfica) is Hungary coach; Xavier Sabate (Plock) is coach of the Czech team
- the current top scorers for the two sides are Petar Djordjic (Benfica/90 goals since the start of the group phase) and Mark Sergej Kosorotov (Plock/63)
In this phase of the competition, every opponent is going to be very strong. The team from Poland is a very good team, with a lot of potential and it’s going to be a very hard opponent. I think it can be an advantage to be playing at home, the tournament here in Lisbon. It’s going to be a big boost for us. When it comes to the daily performances, we must fulfill our goals and bring everything that we have to the table, and we will see what happens on Saturday.