Young guns face experienced ‘foxes’ in trophy clash
It is match 192 of the 2022/23 season of the EHF European League men — and it is the final. Teams from two great handball nations are set to clash for the trophy in Flensburg: The young guns from Fraikin BM. Granollers or the favoured and experienced side from Füchse Berlin will succeed dethroned champions Benfica SL.
Neither side has won the European League before, but both have taken the EHF Cup each twice.
Before the final, Göppingen and Montpellier duel for the third time this season, fighting for the third rank.
Füchse Berlin (GER) vs Fraikin BM Granollers (ESP)
Sunday 28 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- both finalists have won the EHF Cup twice: Granollers in the 1994/95 and 1995/96 seasons, while Berlin were on the winners podium in 2015 and 2018
- making it to the final in Flensburg is the best international result for Granollers since 1996
- Granollers are the first Spanish finalists in the EHF Cup/European League since 2007, when Aragon were defeated by SC Magdeburg — a German team that included Füchse’s current sports director Stefan Kretzschmar
- after beating Montpellier 35:29 in the semi on Saturday, Berlin play their sixth final in EHF competitions, and the second against a non-German team: in 2015, they beat Hamburg; in 2017, they lost against Göppingen; in 2018, they beat Saint-Raphael; in 2019, they lost against Kiel – all in the EHF Cup. In the European League, they lost the 2021 final against Magdeburg
- Granollers have beaten two German teams this season already — both times in the Campushalle in Flensburg: First, Flensburg themselves in the second leg of the quarter-final (35:27). On Saturday, it was Göppingen in the semi-final (31:29)
- only two Berlin players were part of both squads that won the trophies in 2015 and 2018: Fabian Wiede and Paul Drux, the latter of whom is currently ruled-out due to a torn achilles tendon. Besides that, Hans Lindberg won the trophy in 2018. No other current Berlin players was part of the 2018 team
- Lindberg can win his third different European trophy on a club level after becoming Champions League winner in 2013 with Hamburg and EHF Cup winner in 2018 with Berlin
- the teams duelled only once in history: 40 years ago, in the IHF Cup 1982/83, when Berlin won both encounters
- top scorers of the two sides are Antonio Garcia Robledo with 87 strikes for Granollers and Milos Vujovic with 74 for Berlin. It will the last international match for the Montenegrin in the Füchse jersey, as he will leave for Gummersbach. Garcia needs to score more than 23 goals to become overall top scorer as Kadetten’s Icelander Odinn Thor Rikhardsson is on 110 goals
- as both Spain (by Barça) and Germany (by Magdeburg) are represented in the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 in Cologne in June, the same country could win both major trophies in men’s European club handball in 2022/23 — and definitely one of the them will make it to the final, as Barca are to lock horns with Magdeburg
I hope we do better on Sunday than two years ago in the final against Magdeburg. We came here to win this trophy, no matter who is our opponent. A final is a final — everybody wants to win it.
We feel good in this arena. Our players are very good, but we know that for sure Berlin are a very good team, maybe the best team here. Who knows what will happen.
3/4 PLACEMENT MATCH
Montpellier HB (FRA) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)
Sunday 28 May, 15:30 CEST, live on EHFTV
- the sides duelled in the group phase of this season already, winning their respective home match: Montpellier 35:27 in France and Göppingen 27:25 in Germany
- like in their last participation in the EHF Finals (2018), Göppingen play for third position, while Montpellier always made it to the final in top-four tournament formats they have played — in 2014, they lost the EHF Cup final against Szeged; in 2018, they won the Champions League final against Nantes
- the record of no French team ever winning the second-tier competition has now continued with the results in Flensburg on Saturday
- both sides were dominant in the first half of their semis, but lost them in the end
- Göppingen’s goalkeeper Marin Sego played for Montpellier in the past
- both sides have to replace injured players: Montpellier already missed Diego Simonet in the semi, while Göppingen’s Sebastian Heymann and captain Tim Kneule got injured on Saturday during the semi