Flensburg and Skanderborg-Aarhus create paths for the quarter-finals
SG Flensburg-Handewitt delivered a clinical performance, their best of the season in the EHF European League Men, to hand SL Benfica a painful loss, 39:26. With the win, the German side have virtually sealed their berth for the quarter-finals.
Skanderborg-Aarhus, in only their second season in an European competition, also took full advantage of the first leg against Fraikin BM. Granollers, taking a big step towards the quarter-finals, with a 34:32 win.
Last 16, First Leg
SL Benfica (POR) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 26:39 (10:21)
The reigning champions stood little chance against a hungry Flensburg, which delivered one of the best, if not the best first half of this season in the EHF European League Men. Goalkeeper Benjamin Buric saved 10 shots for a 50% saving efficiency, while the attack converted 21 of their 26 shots to create an insurmountable advantage, 21:10. The Danish pair of wing Emil Jakobsen and line player Simon Hald Jensen scored nine and seven goals respectively, as Flensburg became the team with the largest average of number of goals scored per match this season, 33.9. On the other hand, Benfica paid for their turnovers and mistakes in attack, as their title-defending campaign went early into a tailspin, with the Portuguese side failing to get back into the match.
Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP) vs Skanderborg-Aarhus (DEN) 32:34(12:20)
A mix of experience and talented, but unproven young players, had little to show for Granollers, especially in a home game, where the Spanish side needed to create an important cushion ahead of the second leg against Skanderborg-Aarhus in Denmark. The fact that the Spanish side were one of the four teams that boasted five wins in five matches on home court in the group phase mattered little, as the guests took full advantage of Granollers’ woes to build an eight-goal lead at the break, 20:12. While the gap remained high throughout most of the second half, a last-gasp effort from Granollers ended the match with a 5:0 run and a narrower 32:34 loss. The comeback was led by up and coming centre back, Jan Gurri Aregay, who scored three goals in a row and handed a lifeline for the hosts for the second leg. Skanderborg-Aarhus were in an amazing form attacking-wise, with right wing Hakun West av Teigum and backs Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen and Torben Petersen combining for 22 goals, and they will have a two goal advantage heading into the second match.