Two Polish-Russian duelsArticle
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We preview Round 3 of the VELUX EHF Champions League, which this weekend features eleven matches.

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Two Polish-Russian duels

Two Polish-Russian duels and the big clash - BM Atletico Madrid vs. MKB Veszprem - are the highlights of the third round of the VELUX EHF Champions League, which starts on Thursday with three matches.

Another key game has been postponed, with THW Kiel vs. AG Kobenhavn playing on December 18.

Group A

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs. Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO)
Thursday, 20:00 hrs (local time)

Having already beated Sävehof and Bosna, RK CO Zagreb face their first big clash so far this season againstKadetten Schaffhausen.

“Schaffhausen will be hard to beat, especially on home soil,” said coach Ivica Obrvan. Meanwhile, the Swiss champions took a lot of positives from their defeat to FC Barcelona in their home debut, so both sides expect a close match.

FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP) vs. Sävehof IK (SWE)
Saturday, 16:15 hrs (local time)

When unbeaten group leaders take on the team at the bottom who have yet to secure a win, the result is often a formality, and that may be the case this Saturday at the famous Palau Blaugrana.

But Barca should beware as the Swedish champions have proved their strength twice against Zagreb and Chambery, despite losing both matches. And the Catalans have not performed to their best so far in the competition.

HC Bosna BH Gas Sarajevo (BIH) vs. Chambery Savoie (FRA)
Saturday, 19:00 hrs (local time)

If Bosna want to reach the last 16, they have to win their home matches – but after losing both their first two games to Schaffhausen and Zagreb, their hopes look to be disappearing. Chambery boast a team full of class, and the French runners-up will be clear favourites in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Group B

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs. KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL)
Thursday, 19:00 hrs (local time)

After two draws against Füchse and Madrid, Chekhovskie will be hoping to secure their first victory in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League. But Vive Targi Kielce will be going all out for victory as they need at least one point to maintain their hopes of reaching the last 16, having lost both their opening matches.

BM Atletico Madrid (ESP) vs. MKB Veszprem (HUN)
Saturday, 20:15 hrs (local time)

This is another clash of two teams hoping to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Impressive Veszprem have been dominant in their both matches so far, while Madrid threw away their chance of victory against Chekhovskie, and had to settle for a draw. Another draw or defeat should give us a clearer picture of just who will win this group. Veszprem will be highly-motivated in this game, with their former shooter Kiril Lazarow now playing for Atletico.

Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) vs. Füchse Berlin (GER)
Sunday, 15:00 hrs (local time)

Has the time come for Danish League runners-up to secure their first ever victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League? Despite two strong performances they are still bottom of the table with no points, but Bjerringbro will be hoping to remedy that in this debutant’s duel. On the other hand Füchse are still unbeaten – and showed their away strength with a draw at Chekhovskie.

Group C

HCM Constanta (ROU) vs. RK Cimos Koper (SLO)
Thursday, 20:00 hrs (local time)

In this close group Constanta need a home victory to maintain their chances of proceeding to the last 16 following two defeats against Plock and Hamburg. Meanwhile Cimos Koper have two points to their name – and an away victory would be a big step towards the next stage.

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs. HC St. Petersburg (RUS)
Sunday, 16:00 hrs (local time)

In the second Polish-Russian duel in Round 3, Wisla Plock will start as favourites against St. Petersburg, having won their previous home game against HCM Constanta. St. Petersburg tied against Metalurg – which was a lost point in the end – and they will want to make amends for that with victory in Plock.

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. HC Metalurg (MKD)
Sunday, 17:30 hrs (local time)

The German champions are clear favourites in this clash, despite their long-term injury problems. After two easy victories, they face a tougher test on Sunday against a still unbeaten team from FYR Macedonia. Metalurg do not have anything to lose and should go into the game without any pressure on their shoulders.

Group D

Pick Szeged (HUN) vs. Ademar Reale Leon (ESP)
Saturday, 16:15 hrs (local time)

If Szeged want to maintain their hopes of finishing in the top four of this top-class group, they must secure two points against the Spaniards, who beat Beograd last weekend. For Szeged this match is the first they could realistically win, after one-sided duels against Kiel and Kobenhavn.

Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA) vs. RK Partizan Beograd (SRB)
Sunday, 17:00 hrs (local time)

After their victory in Kiel, the French champions are preparing to take on clear favourites Partizan. Beograd are still searching for their first point, while Montpellier are top of the table on four points, alongside Kobenhavn. The duel will be a special one for Serbian Mladen Bojinovic, who faces a team from his home country.

The match THW Kiel vs. AG Kobenhavn will be played 18 December.

TEXT: Björn Pazen