Kielce, Skopje, Belgrade and Sävehof book tickets for Group PhaseArticle
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Four qualification tournaments for VELUX EHF Champions completed this weekend – three dramatic finals.

»EHF CL Channel »2011-12 Men's News

Kielce, Skopje, Belgrade and Sävehof book tickets for Group Phase

The last four of the 24 participants of the Group Phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League are known since Sunday evening. Three of the four qualification tournaments were decided in highly dramatic finals.

As KS Vive Targi Kielce won the Wild Card Tournament, for the first time ever two Polish teams are part of the Group Phase. Aside RK Partizan Beograd, IK Sävehof and HC Metalurg Skopje have made their way among the 24 best teams of Europe.

Group 1

(played in City Hall, Prešov, SVK)

After host Prešov had missed the final quite surprisingly, the way was free for RK Partizan Beograd. As their final opponent FC Porto Vitalis had lost too much power in the semi-final against Prešov, the Serbian champions had no problems in winning the final clearly.

RK Partizan Beograd will now play in Group D with the heavyweights Montpellier, Kiel, Kobenhavn, Leon and Szeged.

AEK Athens (GRE) vs. RK Partizan Beograd (SRB) 25:26
Tatran Prešov (SVK) vs. FC Porto Vitalis (POR) 28:29

3-4 placement match:
AEK Athens (GRE) vs. Tatran Prešov (SVK) 23:40

RK Partizan Beograd (SRB) vs. FC Porto Vitalis (POR) 33:26

Group 2

(played in Sporthalle Hollgasse, Vienna, AUT)

After an easy-going semi-final against Besiktas IK, Sävehof had to struggle hard until the final second before they had beaten Dinamo Minsk highly closely in the final.

The Swedish champion now will face defending champion Barcelona, Zagreb, Schaffhausen, Chambery and Sarajevo in Group A.

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs. Besiktas JK (TUR) 34:28
Dinamo Minsk (BLR) vs. aon Fivers (AUT) 32:23

3-4 placement match:
Besiktas JK (TUR) vs. aon Fivers (AUT) 37:33

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs. Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 33:32

Group 3

(played in Maccabi Handball House, ISR)

HC Metalurg from FYR Macedonia secured their qualification for the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Stage with a decisive goal 20 seconds before the end of the final.

After the Balkan team had dominated the first half (14:9), the Norwegian champions came closer minute by minute and equalized for the score of 28:28. A late time-out ten seconds before the end did not bring another equalizer to the Norwegians.

HC Metalurg will compete in Group C with Hamburg, Koper, Constanta, St. Petersburg and Plock.

FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL) vs. Haslum HK (NOR) 29:36
HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. Maccabi Srugo Rishon Lezion (ISR) 27:19

3-4 placement match
FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL) vs. Maccabi Srugo Rishon Lezion (ISR)

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. Haslum HK (NOR) 29:28

Wild card tournament

(played in MOSiR Hala Legionow, Kielce, POL)

4000 frenetic spectators stood on their seats, when Michal Jurecki opened the gate to the Group Stage of the VELUX EHF Champions League widely. By scoring the 31:29 only 70 seconds before the end of the extra time of the final, he paved the way to a big party in Kielce.

The match was on the edge for 70 minutes with light advantages for the Polish runners-up. Löwen led only once with a two goal margin (19:17, minute 42), but later-on Kielce could not increase the gap decisively.

27 seconds before the end of the regular time with Löwen in ball possession they missed the chance to win, but also Kielce missed a direct free throw with the final buzzer.

In extra time the host went away to a two goal margin, and the Germans – last seasons participant of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne – could not catch up anymore.

Kielce now will face tough opponents in Group B with Chekhovski, Veszprem, Madrid, Berlin and Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs. Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) 36:30 after extra time
Cuatro Rayas BM Valladolid (ESP) vs. KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) 19:21

3-4 placement match
Cuatro Rayas BM Valladolid (ESP) vs. Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) 23:27

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs. KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) 30:32 after extra time

The teams that finished fourth in those tournaments will continue in the EHF Cup, where they enter in Round 2. The teams ranked second and third also go to EHF Cup, but enter Round 3.

TEXT: Björn Pazen