Favourites Flensburg make successful start

20221106 AH 3577 2 EHF / Adrian Costeiu

Two sides recorded home wins to start the group, with SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Valur protecting their home court, while PAUC Handball equalled their number of wins from last previous season, with a convincing performance against Ystads IF, 33:29. Also, Valur and FTC combined for 82 goals, the largest number of goals in the EHF European League Men, since the rebrand of the competition in the 2020/21 season.


Ystads IF (SWE) vs PAUC Handball (FRA) 29:33 (14:17)

Last season, PAUC Handball won a grand total of one game in the group phase of the EHF European League Men and were eliminated after finishing in sixth place. This season, the French side vowed to avenge that and they came out swinging, reaching that total after their first game, with a clear 33:29 away win against Ystads IF. With Mathieu Ong, Xavier Labigang and Ian Tarrafeta scoring six goals each, the French side took an lead early, withstood the Ystads comeback, which tied the score, 18:18, and went on to seal an excellent 33:29 win, which surely enhances their prospects for this group. The hosts’ undoing was their attacking efficiency, which dropped to 51%, as they failed to convert plenty of shots during the match.

Thierry Anti, PAUC Handball coach: Regarding our last season, winning tonight as a special taste. We have finally found our first victory, the one we kept searching for. I cannot express what it means to the entire team and the relief it is for them.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs TM Benidorm (ESP) 35:30 (16:19)

An already depleted Flensburg, who were missing the MVP of EHF EURO 2022, Jim Gottfridsson due to injury, were handed another blow, when their defensive lynchpin, Simon Hald Jensen, was given a red card in the 28th minute, after conceding three two-minute suspensions. But experience is key in this competition and Flensburg have plenty of it, using a 9:2 run between the 34th and the 45th minutes to turn the game on its head. Benidorm, who were making their debut in the group phase of a European competition, finally had to give in, as their attacking efficiency dipped from 63% in the first half to 53% by the end, conceding the first loss in the group, 30:35.

Maik Machulla, SG Flensburg-Handewitt coach: We won today, but we have to play better. It's not enough for the European League. 


Valur (ISL) vs FTC (HUN) 43:39 (22:15)

The hosts were an unknown quantity, having last played in the group phase of an European competition in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League in the 2007/08 season. But their credentials were surely bolstered by a superb win against FTC, a team who were making their debut in the group phase of a European competition, with an astonishing attacking performance. The hosts were unplayable at times, delivering a superb game in attack, where Þorgils Svolu Baldursson, Magnus Oli Magnusson and Arnor Oskarsson combined for 22 goals. FTC’s centre back Mate Lekai, the most experienced player in the squad, replied with 10 goals, as the two teams scored 80 goals between them. It was the largest number of goals scored in the past two seasons of the EHF European League Men since the competition’s rebrand, 82, beating the previous record set by SL Benfica and SC Magdeburg in the final of last season of 79 goals.

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