2022 11 03 Fcbhandbolvsnantes 66
EHF Champions League

Nantes and Barça clash in an XXL pre-Christmas present

Björn Pazen & Kevin Domas

One round to go in the calendar year of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League and there is a lot on the line before the winter break.

In Group A, Paris can spend Christmas at the top if they manage to beat Magdeburg on Wednesday, while Veszprém will try to keep up with the French rhythm in Bucharest. Porto face a tough trip to GOG and Zagreb have the opportunity to take points in a third consecutive game in Plock.

The last Match of the Week of the year will bring together many French and Spanish internationals as HBC Nantes host the unbeaten Barça in the 11,000 capacity Neodif XXL Hall. Niklas Landin will travel with his current club THW Kiel to his next club Aalborg, while Kielce (against Celje) and Szeged (at Elverum) are favourites to end the year with a win.


Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs SC Magdeburg (GER)
Wednesday 14 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Paris are currently top of the group with 16 points while Magdeburg are third with 13
  • the first confrontation between the two teams is the only time Magdeburg lost a home Champions League game this season (29:22)
  • five of the 10 best scorers in the Champions League will be on the court for that game: Kamil Syprzak, Dainis Kristopans and Elohim Prandi for Paris; Gisli Kristjansson and Ómar Ingi Magnusson for SCM
  • after nine rounds, Paris have the best attack in the Champions League (324 goals)
  • Paris remain leaders of the French league after beating Cesson last Saturday (36:32) while Magdeburg took the points in the Bundesliga in Berlin (32:31)
20221213 CLM Preview PSG Prandi
Magdeburg is a difficult team to face. However, we knew how to manage the first leg very well, relying on our defence and a great performance from our goalkeeper Jannick Green. The goal is to repeat this type of performance as regularly as possible. It will therefore be necessary to be combative and concentrated from the first moments of the meeting this Wednesday.
Elohim Prandi
Left back, Paris Saint-Germain

GOG (DEN) vs FC Porto (POR)
Wednesday 14 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • GOG took the first confrontation between the two sides in Portugal, 33:26
  • the Danish side is currently fifth in the group, with seven points, while Porto are last, with one point
  • Porto are the only team not to have won a game in the Champions League this season. Their last win dates to December 2021 against Kielce (29:27)
  • two GOG players are among the best scorers in the Champions League: Simon Pytlick (4th, with 53 goals) and Emil Madsen (11th, with 48 goals)
  • GOG conceded their second defeat of the season in the Danish league against Sonderjyske (42:37) while Porto defeated Vitoria in the Portuguese league (30:27)

CS Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
Thursday 15 December 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • back in September, Veszprém won the first game between the two teams this season on home ground, 33:30
  • Veszprém are now second in the group, one point behind leaders Paris, while Dinamo are fourth with 10 points
  • the Romanian side has taken seven of its 10 points in the last four games, with three wins and a draw last week against Zagreb
  • Andrii Akimenko, Bucharest’s best scorer in the Champions League, has netted five times more than Rasmus Lauge Schmidt, Veszprém’s scoring leader
  • last weekend, both teams came out victorious of their domestic league games: Dinamo against Suceava (42:31) and Veszprém in Budakalasz (42:28)
20221213 CLM Preview Dinamo Pascual
An amazing game, to receive one of the best teams in the world. For us it can be a party. I hope that the arena will be full with our fans and they must try to help us to beat Veszprém, to compete with them, because we know the difficulties this game has for us. But we play at home and we need to show our best face.
Xavier Pascual
Coach, CS Dinamo

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Thursday 15 December 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • thanks to their draw in Bucharest last week, Zagreb overtook Plock in the group’s standings and are now sixth, with six points
  • Plock have lost their last four games in the Champions League, while Zagreb have taken points in their last two games
  • the two teams drew in their first confrontation this season, 26:26, in Varazdin
  • Plock and Zagreb are among the best defensive sides this season, having conceded just 268 and 269 goals respectively
  • they are also the least efficient offences of all 16 teams in the competition, with 245 and 250 goals scored
20221213 CLM Preview Plock Zagreb


Elverum Handball (NOR) vs OTP Bank-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Wednesday 14 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Szeged lost only one of six duels against Elverum and won the remaining five, including the first duel of this season (30:23)
  • Elverum have two points on their account, but were close to their second victory at Celje last week, when they lost their lead in the last 10 minutes
  • the Hungarian champions have won three of their last five matches, but were clearly second best last week in the MOTW against Kielce
  • with six points on their account, Szeged could pass Aalborg to finish the year in fifth place
  • both sides were victorious in their last league matches, Elverum beat Fjellhammer 31:27, Szeged won against Csurgoi 34:32

Lomza Industria Kielce (POL) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO)
Thursday 15 December, 18:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both sides had won their round 9 matches, Kielce 31:28 at Szeged, Celje took their second win of the season after a strong endgame against Elverum 29:26
  • after a tough fight, Kielce took the points in the first duel with a 33:30 win at Celje - it was their third victory against Celje in nine matches
  • Kielce’s only defeat of this Champions League season occurred at Barça. The Polish champions have won all remaining eight matches and rank one point above the defending champions
  • Celje’s Aleks Vlah is third-best scorer of the Champions League with 65 goals, Kielce’s wing Arkadiusz Moryto is eighth on 50 strikes
  • the Slovenian side took all their four points on home ground, their last away victory dates to February 2021, 30:28 at Nantes
  • Kielce lost the top match of the Polish league against Plock on Sunday (29:27), while Celje remained on top of the Slovenian league with a 38:26 success over Krstko
20221213 CLM Preview Kielce Olejniczak
Celje is an unpredictable team, playing fast handball. Aleks Vlah as centre back showed many times he knows how to score goals. We must pay special attention to him. 
Michal Olejniczak
Centre back, Lomza Industria Kielce

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Thursday 15 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • if Aalborg win, they would pass Kiel in fourth place in the group
  • the 36:36 in the first duel at Kiel was Aalborg’s only point in the last five matches, since then losing twice to both Nantes and Barça
  • Kiel ended their series of five matches without a victory in the last round, beating Nantes 37:33
  • in nine matches so far, Aalborg only took one victory against Kiel, the last home match in the 2021/22 season (35:33). Kiel have won six times, two duels ended in a draw
  • THW goalkeeper Niklas Landin will join Aalborg from the next season on, his brother Magnus remains as the last Dane at Kiel
  • Aalborg’s playmaker Aron Palmarsson played for Kiel and won the Champions League twice in the THW jersey in 2010 and 2012

MOTW: HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Barça (ESP)
Thursday 15 December, 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Barça won the first encounter 34:29 - and are the only unbeaten group phase participant with 17 points on their tally. The only draw occurred at Kiel
  • Nantes have lost only three matches so far and rank third with 12 points
  • Nantes have won only once against Barça, in their first home match in 2017 (29:25). Since then, the defending champions have won all six matches, including the 2021 semi-final at the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne (31:26)
  • Nantes have four Spaniards in their squad, including former Barça wing Valero Rivera, former top scorer of the Champions League
  • Barça count on four French players, including their current top scorer Dika Mem (52 goals this season)
  • Nantes’ top goalkeeper Viktor Hallgrímsson was ruled out of their last match at Kiel. Their influential playmaker Aymeric Minne has also not played since October
20221213 CLM Preview Nantes Cojean
Barça is the best club in the world, with the best players in the world. If they are at their best of the best level, it seems to be an impossible mission but we’ll make our best, as usual. We made a good first leg, with a good defence. We have to keep this intensity in defence.
Grégory Cojean
Coach, HBC Nantes
20221213 CLM Preview Barca Ortega
All games in the Champions League are important. I believe it is a great challenge because we play against a team who is playing a great handball and haven’t lost any points at home this season, winning Champions and French League games. It will be a difficult one but we are here to compete. We love to play in these kind of arenas. Fans put pressure on the team, but with nice fans who love the game.
Carlos Ortega
Coach, Barça

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