20230206 ELM Round 7 Preview Goppingen
EHF European League

More Last 16 tickets up for grabs

EHF / Danijela Vekić, Adrian Costeiu, Kevin Domas, Björn Pazen

While Montpellier secured their EHF European League Men Last 16 ticket before Christmas, Göppingen could do the same in round 7, if they manage to take the points in Veszprem in group A. Group B is also well-balanced, but the first berth for the next phase can be awarded if Flensburg, the group leaders, win their game against Valur, sealing their sixth win in seven matches.

In group C, leaders Nexe will try to get back on track against Skjern after suffering the first defeat of the season ahead of the winter break. In group D, Füchse Berlin hope to extend their six-game winning streak against HC Motor, while Skanderborg-Aarhus can follow the German side to the play-offs, if they beat Eurofarm Pelister. 


Fejer B.A.L. Veszprem (HUN) vs Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)
Tuesday 7 February, 17:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Veszprem are currently bottom of the group after six rounds, with no point, while Göppingen stand second, with eight points
  • if they win, Göppingen have the opportunity to secure their ticket for the Last 16 as soon as Tuesday night
  • the German side secured the two points in the first confrontation between the two teams this season (46:30)
  • Veszprem’s Benedek Eles features among the 10 best scorers of the European League, with 40 goals, while Göppingen’s Josip Sarac has netted 32 so far
  • last week, Veszprem qualified in the Hungarian Cup, beating Budai Farkasok (32:28) while this game will be Göppingen’s first since the end of the international break
  • Veszprem coach Csaba Konkoly: “We know that we are not the ones with a chance, but we want to make Göppingen's game against us as difficult as possible. We are confident in the work we have done and in the development of the team."

SL Benfica (POR) vs TATRAN Presov (SVK)
Tuesday 7 February, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • after six rounds, Benfica are fourth in the group with four points, two points ahead of Presov
  • Benfica took the points in Slovakia in the first confrontation between the two teams (29:25)
  • with 160 goals scored, Presov are currently the second least effectiv offence of the group phase, ahead of Aguas Santas Milaneza
  • Petar Djordjic is Benfica’s best scorer in the European League, with 38 goals, while Nikola Ivanovic has netted 32 times for Presov
  • last weekend, Benfica resumed the Portuguese league with a win in Viseu (25:23) while Presov suffered a home defeat to Plzen (32:37) in the Czech league
  • Benfica right back Demis Grigoras: "Our ambition is to win the game. We prepared for the game well, but we must respect them. They will want to win also, but I believe that with the support of our fans we will succeed. We need those points to go forward."
  • Presov coach Marek Gernát: “We are going to Lisbon to fight. We already played the opponent at home. In the second half we saw that we can play with them, but we need the necessary strength and energy, which we lacked on Saturday against Plzeň, for example. We are going to Lisbon to find the lost energy, to perform as well as possible and to make the best possible result.”

Montpellier HB (FRA) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Tuesday 7 February, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Montpellier are currently top of the group with 12 points, while Schaffhausen are third, with eight
  • Montpellier are currently one of the two sides that have taken the maximum of points after six rounds, along with Füchse Berlin
  • the French side took the first game between the two teams in Switzerland in round 1 (30:28)
  • four Montpellier players came back from the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship with a silver medal: captain Valentin Porte, Yanis Lenne, Charles Bolzinger and Rémi Desbonnet
  • last weekend, Montpellier qualified for the semi-finals of the French cup by beating Saint-Raphaël (39:36), while earlier in the week, Schaffhausen enjoyed a similar fate in the Swiss Cup, in Geneve (37:20)
20230206 ELM Round 7 Preview FTC PAUC


FTC (HUN) vs PAUC Handball (FRA)
Tuesday 7 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • FTC need a win to remain in the hunt for a berth for the knockout phase, as they are last in the group, with only three points, after a four-game winless streak
  • no team has conceded more goals than FTC (218, or 36.3 on average) with the Hungarian side being one of the two sides to break the barrier of 200 conceded goals
  • PAUC have lost their last two matches and need a win, as they hold only a two-point advantage over the fifth-placed Benidorm
  • the Hungarian side has been one of the best attacks this season, scoring 201 goals, the fourth-largest number, while PAUC are in the middle of the pack, with 189 goals
  • PAUC’s biggest weakness has been their attacking efficiency of 59.1 per cent, the fifth-lowest in the competition
  • FTC goalkeeper Kristóf Győri: "We can always play in a great atmosphere at home, I think this will be the same on Tuesday. We are facing a very good team, several of them were also at the World Championship and were key players in their national team. We will definitely have a difficult game and have to be focused for 60 minutes.”

Ystads IF HF (SWE) vs TM Benidorm (ESP)
Tuesday 7 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • only two sides - Füchse Berlin and Montpellier – have a better winning streak than Ystads, who are on a four-game winning streak
  • the Swedish side have two of the top 11 scorers in the group phase, backs Jonathan Svensson and Kim Andersson, who combined for 75 goals in the first six games, or 40 per cent of Ystads’ goals so far
  • after the World Championship break, Ystads won both games played in the domestic league, 27:26 against Helsingborg and 40:25 against Onnered
  • Ystads goalkeeper Niklas Kraft leads the goalkeeper saves standings, with 85, for a 34.4 per cent saving efficiency, 15 more than anyone else in the competition
  • in the first match between the two sides, Ystads kickstarted their four-game winning streak with a 29:27 away win over Benidorm
  • Benidorm centre back Santiago Barcelo (TM Benidorm Player): "We have been training hard and can't wait the test against one of the best teams in our competition on the first half of the competition We are ready for an intense and unforgettable journey as we compete for the win in order to keep the chances in our own hands to pass to the following round."

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Valur (ISL)
Tuesday, 7 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Flensburg will seal a Last 16 berth provided they beat Valur, as they have a six-point lead over fifth place and hold the tiebreaker against Benidorm with two wins against the Spanish side
  • the German powerhouse will miss influential Swedish centre back Jim Gottfridsson, who broke his hand during the World Championship quarter-final against Egypt
  • the hosts are one of the seven teams to boast an immaculate home record, winning three games out of the three they played so far
  • Valur started the group with an excellent run, but have lost three and drawn another game in the last four matches; they currently sit fourth in the standings
  • Flensburg have the joint-best attack in the competition alongside Berlin with 208 goals, while Valur’s Arnór Snær Óskarsson is the second best scorer in the competition, with 43 goals in the first six matches
20230206 ELM Round 7 Preview Granollers Balatonfured


Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) vs Balatonfüred KSE (HUN)
Tuesday 7 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Balatonfüred are second from the bottom and have three points, from a win and a draw against Alpla Hard; Granollers are second in the group with eight points
  • Granollers won the reverse fixture 30:25 in round 1 after a good performance by Rangel Luan da Rosa between the posts and a 14-goal outing by Pol Valera Rovira
  • however, Valera Rovira left the club and joined EHF Champions League winners Barça during the winter break
  • both sides had their representatives at the IHF Men's World Championship. Balatonfüred’s Bendegúz Bóka played for Hungary, while Granollers’ Guilherme Torriani and Rangel Luan de Rosa appeared for Brazil
  • Granollers were defeated 22:37 by Barça in the domestic championship, while the Hungarian side suffered a 26:30 defeat from Gyöngyös
  • Balatonfüred coach László György: "We will play the strongest opponent in the group. On paper, we are not the favourites, but we will do our best to win."

RK Nexe (CRO) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN)
Tuesday 7 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Nexe lead the group with 10 points and have suffered only one defeat this season, 22:25 against Granollers in round 5; Skjern are fourth in the group with six points
  • in their first encounter this season Nexe snatched a narrow win after a last-gasp goal by Tomislav Severec
  • Fahrudin Melic is the Croatian side's top scorer with 40 goals and is among the top four in the competition; Skjern's Christoffer Hoffmann is the third-best goalkeeper with 68 saves at 35.6 per cent save efficiency
  • Nexe had four players at the IHF Men's World Championship: Marin Jelinic and Dominik Kuzmanovic represented Croatia, Predrag Vejin was with Serbia and Aleksandar Bakic played for Montenegro; Skjern had none
  • Skjern's line player Sveinn Jóhannsson left the club and joined German GSW Minden
  • ahead of the EHF European League match, Nexe lost to Vojvodina and defeated Eurofarm Pelister in the SEHA League; Skjern beat Ribe-Esbjerg and hold fifth place in Denmark
  • Nexe left wing Aleksandar Bakić: “We will try to impose our rhythm of the game and give the maximum, as we have done so far. We are training well, we are all healthy and we can't wait for the match. We also hope for loud support from the stands, which has not been missing so far, so it will certainly be a big advantage for us.”

Alpla HC Hard (AUT) vs Sporting CP (POR)
Tuesday 7 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Sporting are on a three-win streak and are currently third in the group with eight points; Alpla Hard is the last team with only one point from a draw against Balatonfüred
  • Alpla Hard were close to winning in the first fixture after a good performance by Ivan Horvat but were left short by one goal
  • Sporting had five players wearing their national team jerseys in the club at Poland/Sweden 2023, while the Austrian side did not have representatives
  • the Portuguese side are the 12th most efficient attack in the competition with 30.6 goals per game on average; Alpla Hard's Golub Doknic is the fifth-best goalkeeper with 65 saves
  • Alpla Hard suffered a narrow 31:32 defeat against SG Handball Westwien and are currently the fourth club in the league; Sporting overran ADA Maia-Ismai 35:27 and took over the first place in Portugal
20230206 ELM Round 7 Preview Alpla
With Sporting we're dealing with a really good opponent and a very interesting team is visiting us. With the two Costa brothers in the two half positions, they may even have two of Europe's greatest handball talents in their ranks. We’ve played well in the first leg in the away game and could have taken something worth counting with us.
Hannes Jón Jónsson
Coach, Alpla HC Hard


Skanderborg-Aarhus (DEN) vs HC Eurofarm Pelister (MKD)
Tuesday 7 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Skanderborg-Aarhus had lost their last two matches against Berlin before the break, but are still second in the group with eight points
  • if they beat Eurofarm Pelister and Berlin beat Motor, the Danish side have already clinched their Last 16 berth
  • Eurofarm Pelister are fourth with five points, and lost their first duel against Skanderborg-Aarhus on home ground 27:30
  • Eurofarm’s head coach Lars Walther and top scorer Sebastian Henneberg will have a kind of homecoming, as both are Danes
  • the hosts lost their first domestic match of the year 25:27 at Nordsjaelland, while Eurofarm Pelister started the new season of the SEHA League with two defeats against Nexe (25:29) and Vojvodina (24:19)

Füchse Berlin (GER) vs HC Motor (UKR)
Tuesday 7 February, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Füchse Berlin have already secured their spot in the Last 16 after winning all six previous group matches; Motor have taken all their three points in the duels with Aguas Santas and rank fifth
  • Berlin won the first duel clearly 38:27 at Motor’s new home, Düsseldorf
  • Füchse count on three newly crowned Danish world champions, including tournament MVP Mathias Gidsel
  • Motor lost their last match in German Bundesliga at Hüttenberg, while Füchse did not have a match last weekend
  • two of the best European League scorers face in this duel: top scorer Ihor Turchenko, who scored 45 times for Motor, and Milos Vujovic, who has 41 strikes for Berlin on his tally

Aguas Santas Milaneza (POR) vs Bidasoa Irun (ESP)
Tuesday 7 February, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • with only one point on their account after six rounds, Aguas Santas would need a miracle to proceed to the Last16 – they took their only point against Motor
  • in contrast, Bidasoa Irun are clearly on course for the knock-out stage with seven points, including the 35:26 victory in the first duel against the Portuguese side
  • if Bidasoa win and Motor lose, the Spanish side only need one more point from the three remaining matches to finally proceed
  • in the duel of two European League participants, Irun consolidated their sixth position in the Spanish league by beating Benidorm 32:27
  • Aguas Santas have not restarted in the Portuguese league by now and currently rank fourth, five points below leaders Sporting

Photos © Jürgen Weber Photodesign, Benjamin Szente, Alexandra Koess, Sylvain Sauvage

20230206 ELM Round 7 Preview Bidasoa
Tuesday's game is an important match to advance to the next round of the EHF European League. At their home
they will surely make things difficult for us and it will be a hard-fought match. We will give our best and we hope to get the two important points to go through to the next phase
Mikel Zabala
Left wing, Bidasoa Irun

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