20211122 Kielce Vs Barca Main
EHF Champions League

Top clashes to open second half of group phase

EHF / Björn Pazen, Kevin Domas

The group phase of the EHF Champions League Men 2021/22 has passed the halfway mark, with round 8 featuring interesting matchups to throw off the second half.

In group A, Aalborg, the 2021 finalists from Denmark, host Kiel in the Match of the Week on Wednesday, six days after losing 31:28 in Germany. The standout duel in group B is Kielce against Barça, meeting again a week after the Polish champions became the first team to beat Barça at home since 2015.

20211122 Aalborg Quote (1)
This game will be important for us to stay in the top of the group. I think we are the better team, which we also showed in parts of the game last week. It will be fun beating Kiel in Aalborg.
Henrik Møllgaard
Aalborg Håndbold centre back
20211123 Kiel Quote
I’m really looking forward to coming back to Aalborg. They have a world-class team and showed this in Kiel. I expect a really tough match.
Sander Sagosen
THW Kiel centre back

GROUP A

MOTW: Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Wednesday 24 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • last week’s 31:28 win over Aalborg was Kiel’s fourth straight victory and they join leaders Montpellier on 11 points
  • Aalborg lost their last two matches – at Szeged and Kiel – and are on eight points from seven matches
  • Niklas Ekberg, Hendrik Pekeler (both seven goals) and Sander Sagosen (six) scored 20 of Kiel’s 31 goals last week
  • Kiel’s leading scorer is Niclas Ekberg with 42 goals; fellow Swede Felix Claar is Aalborg’s best scorer with 36
  • in the duel against his former teammates, Aalborg’s Aron Palmarsson only scored twice from seven attempts
  • Aalborg surprisingly lost their Danish league match on Saturday at Ribe (36:33); Kiel took a 38:26 win at Göppingen and are ranked second in the Bundesliga behind Magdeburg

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Wednesday 24 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams still wait for their first victory of the season after the 30:30 in the reverse fixture in round 7
  • Brest are on one point and have a series of nine matches without a victory; Zagreb are on two points and have not won their last 23 CL games
  • Stanislav Kasparek (six for Brest) and Ivan Cupic (seven for Zagreb) were the best scorers last week; they are also the leading scorers for their club with 32 (Cupic) and 31 (Kasparaek) goals
  • the teams have met five times in the CL so far: Brest won twice and Zagreb once, while last week’s match marked their second draw
20211117 BREZAG Quote
These are two equal teams, which was confirmed by the Final Four of the SEHA-League. The match, as always, will be difficult. We need to learn from the previous games with Zagreb. It is important to fight for the full 60 minutes and not allow any slumps in the game.
Dani Gordo
HC Meshkov Brest head coach
20211123 Zagreb Quote
We were in a good rhythm throughout the whole match, we didn't have those 'black minutes' in our game when the opponents normally take advantage and make a gap in the result. We matched them well, and I hope we will have the strength and knowledge because we will not lack motivation this week.
Ivica Obrvan
HC PPD Zagreb head coach

Montpellier HB (FRA) vs Elverum Handball (NOR)
Wednesday 24 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Montpellier top the table with 11 points after their dominant 37:30 win against Elverum, which had not lost for the previous four rounds
  • Elverum are on eight points and on course for a place in the knockout phase
  • Montpellier are on a five-win run in the CL and have won two of the three previous matches against Elverum
  • Hugo Descat was Montpellier’s top scorer with nine goals at Elverum, while Julien Bos is the team’s best scorer overall with 40 goals, two more than Elverum’s Tobias Grøndahl
  • Montpellier lost 27:23 to Chambéry on Sunday and are ranked eighth in the French league; Elverum won 35:26 at Naerbo to remain on top in Norway

HC Vardar 1961 (MKD) vs Pick Szeged (HUN)
Thursday 25 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Szeged have taken two victories and a draw from their last three matches - including the 34:31 against Vardar last week
  • Vardar have lost all four CL matches since the end of September
  • Vardar have won six of 13 Champions League matches against Szeged and lost five; their duels include the 2018/19 quarter-final when Vardar won and went on to lift the trophy
  • Vardar left wing Timur Dibirov scored his 1,000th CL last week, the third player to achieve the feat after Kiril Lazarov and Nikola Karabatic
  • Sebastian Frimmel (nine) and Kent Robin Tönnesen (8) scored half of Szeged’s goals in the reverse fixture last week
  • Dibirov is joint top scorer of the CL 2021/22, alongside Barça’s Dika Mem, each with 47 goals after seven rounds
20211123 Kilece Quote
I am so proud and happy because of our victory in Barcelona. But this game is already behind us, now we need to focus on the second one. Andi (Wolff) played amazingly in Barcelona and I hope he will do it again in Kielce.
Igor Karacic
Lomza Vive Kielce centre back
20211123 Barca Quote
I think (Kielce) have more pressure because they play at home now but the game, tactically, will be similar to the first one. I guess they are the most powerful team in the Champions League right now: They have players in a very good shape and able to score a lot of goals.
Carlos Ortega
Barça head coach

GROUP B

Lomza Vive Kielce (POL) vs Barça (ESP)
Wednesday 24 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Kielce became the first team to win in Barcelona since November 2015
  • Kielce remained on top of group B with 12 points, winning their last six games
  • Barça’s defeat last week meant that the defending champions have already dropped five points this group phase
  • Kielce and Barça have played each other 10 times in the CL; Barça have never lost an away game in Poland
  • Barça’s Dika Mem is the best scorer in the CL, together with Vardar’s Timur Dibirov: they have each scored 47 times so far
  • Barça (35:29 against Puente Genil) and Kielce (30:25 against Tarnow) had commanding wins last weekend to stay on top of their respective domestic leagues

CS Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Thursday 25 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Flensburg won the reverse fixture 37:30 last week
  • thanks to their second win in a row, Flensburg are ranked sixth with five points; Dinamo close the group with four points
  • Hampus Wanne is Flensburg’s best scorer so far with 45 goals; Dinamo’s best scorer, Valentin Ghionea, has netted 34 times over the seven first games
  • Dinamo have lost only four home games in European competitions since 2018; otherwise, they won 13 games and drew once
  • Dinamo coach Xavi Pascual: "(Flensburg) play amazing handball and it is a pleasure to see them. It is not easy to play against them, because Flensburg could be one of the teams that can play the EHF FINAL4"
  • Flensburg’s domestic league match was postponed this weekend; Dinamo won their home game against Potaissa Turda (43:39)
20211123 Veszprem Quote
We need to improve in all areas of the game, we played way below our standards last week. No matter who the opponents are, our goal is always to win at home. We need to focus and play with confidence, we have to get back on track.
Manuel Strlek
Telekom Veszprém HC left wing

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs HC Motor (UKR)
Thursday 25 November, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • last week, Motor handed Veszprém their second straight defeat in away matches, 29:27
  • it was only Motor’s second win, and first since 2014, in 10 CL matches against Veszprém
  • Veszprém are third in group B with eight points; Motor fifth with six points
  • Motor have not taken a point yet in away matches, while Veszprém have taken the maximum of six points on their home court so far
  • Both teams took the points in their domestic leagues with substantial wins last weekend

FC Porto (POR) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Thursday 25 November, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • last week, PSG conceded just four goals in the first half before handing Porto their biggest CL defeat of the Portuguese club’s CL history, 33:19
  • PSG are fourth in the group with seven points, Porto sixth with five points
  • PSG have yet to win an away game in the CL this season following losses in Kielce, Veszprém and Barcelona, and drawing in Flensburg
  • Porto have beaten PSG only once in a European competition: in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 2007
  • Mikkel Hansen is third on the CL top scorers list with 45 goals; Porto’s best scorer, Victor Manuel Iturriza, has netted 30 times
  • both teams remain the undefeated leaders of their respective domestic leagues: Porto defeated  Boa Hora 38:23, PSG beat Saint-Raphaël 42:31
20211123 Porto Quote
We had a bad game in Paris, but we want to show that this is not the real face of FC Porto. This Thursday, we want t make a good game like we did against Barcelona. Everybody is winning against everybody and we want to do better.
Ivan Sliskovic
FC Porto left back

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