Group phase for men's 2022/23 top flight drawn
The pathway for the anniversary 30th season of the EHF Champions League Men has been outlined. The group phase draw on Friday in Vienna divided all 16 participants of the 2022/23 season into two groups.
Record 10-time champions Barça will face a fierce resistance in their title defence already in the group phase. In their group B, they will not only meet their opponents from the previous season's final Lomza Industria Kielce again, but also German heavyweights THW Kiel, Hungarian champions Pick Szeged, or the star-studded Danish side Aalborg Håndbold.
French runners-up HBC Nantes, Norwegian titleholders Elverum Håndball and Slovenian league winners RK Celje Pivovarna Laško complete group A.
While group B combines for 16 EHF Champions League titles from the previous 29 seasons (10x Barça, 4x Kiel, 1x Kielce, 1x Celje), there is just one former winner of the European top flight in group A – SC Magdeburg won the trophy back in 2002 and are making a return to the continent's premium competition after 17 long years.
In their group A, the fresh German champions will be challenged by the French giants of Paris Saint-Germain Handball, seven-time EHF FINAL4 participants Telekom Veszprém HC from Hungary, the national champions of Portugal, Romania, Croatia and Denmark – FC Porto, CS Dinamo Bucuresti, HC PPD Zagreb and GOG – and also Polish cup winners Orlen Wisla Plock, who reached the EHF European League Finals for the two previous seasons.
The draw was conducted by the EHF President Michael Wiederer together with the EHF Chief Sport Officer Markus Glaser.
For 2022/23, the competition format remains the same as in the past two seasons: two groups of eight teams each, with the top-six ranked teams qualifying for the knockout phase. Both the group winners and runners-up from each group will be heading directly into the quarter-finals, and the teams ranked third through sixth will advance to the play-offs.
The first playing day for the EHF Champions League Men on Wednesday 14 September 2022 and the anniversary season will culminate at the EHF FINAL4 on 17-18 June at the LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany.
The match schedule of both groups will be announced in due time.
EHF Champions League Men 2022/23 group phase
Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA), SC Magdeburg (GER), GOG (DEN), FC Porto (POR), CS Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU), Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN), Orlen Wisla Plock (POL), HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Pick Szeged (HUN), Barça (ESP), RK Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO), Lomza Industria Kielce (POL), THW Kiel (GER), HBC Nantes (FRA), Elverum Håndball (NOR), Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)