The final countdownArticle
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The last Group Phase round and eight teams are fighting for five places in the Last 16

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The final countdown 


Well before EUROPE play their greatest hit at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, the final round of the Group Phase has its very own final countdown - and its going to be thrilling!

The last 12 of 120 matches will decide which teams will be the winners of two Groups and the last five participants in the Last 16.

Zagreb and Barcelona fight for the top position in Group A, whilst Kiel and Kobenhavn play for the number one position of Group D in a direct duel.

Chambery and Schaffhausen (Group A), Kielce, Chechkovskie, Berlin and Veszprem (Group B) and St. Petersburg and Plock (Group C) are the eight candidates for the five remaining places in the Last 16.

All matches of Round 10 will be played this Saturday and Sunday, and on the following Tuesday 28 February, the draw for the Last 16 will take place at 11:00 hrs local time in Horsholm, Denmark - the headquarters of the title sponsor, VELUX.

The four pots contain the teams in their respective positions of the Group Stage (from 1 to 4), and the first ranked teams will face the fourth ranked and the second ranked teams will play against the third ranked teams.

The teams on the first and second positions will have the home right in the second leg. Teams who competed in the same Group cannot face each other in the Last 16.

Group A

RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) Saturday, 20:30 hrs local time

It is time for mathematics in this duel: Zagreb (currently 14 points) can become Group winner if they win this game and Barcelona (16) lose at Sävehof – but more importantly: the Croats have to play catch-up and score 47 goals more than the defending champions.

On the other hand, Kadetten (8 points) are in a good position for the fourth rank in the match against Chambery (6) because the Swiss champions are two points and 44 goals ahead of the French runners-up. If Kadetten win and Sävehof lose, the Swiss can secure the third rank position due to a higher goal difference in the direct encounter.

The decision about the fourth team to proceed to the Last 16 will made on Saturday, as Zagreb have to wait until Sunday, when the Barcelona match in Sävehof is over. 

Watch the match LIVE at

Chambery Savoie HB (FRA) vs-. HC Bosna Gas Sarajevo (BIH)
Saturday, 20:30 hrs local time

The French team is the clear favourite – but are Chambery able to catch-up to and score such a huge number of goals? After five straight defeats in the VELUX EHF Champions League, Chambery need a huge miracle to proceed.

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs. FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP)
Sunday, 16:10 hrs local time

The Swedish surprise team has already come further than they expected by qualifying for the knock-out stage – and on Sunday they have their “match of the year” against the defending champions.

Sävehof can play without any pressure after a strong series of five victories in the last six matches. Barcelona won the first leg clearly 36:24 and are the favourites, despite their first defeat this season last Saturday against Zagreb.

The 47 goal lead above Zagreb should be enough to remain at the top position.

Group B

Füchse Berlin (GER) vs. Bjerringbro Silkeborg (DEN)
Saturday, 14:30 hrs local time

Currently the Foxes rank fifth, but optimistically they could finish second in this "group of death“. To qualify for the Last 16 the Germans need a victory against the Danes (0 points).

Berlin have won direct encounters against Veszprem and Medvedi – a good base as several teams can be equal in points in the end.

Berlin (like Medvedi) have nine points and are one point behind Kielce and Veszprem. Berlin won the first leg 30:25 in Denmark – their first ever away victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL) vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS)
Saturday, 17:00 hrs local time

The winner of this match will qualify for the Last 16 – regardless of all other results. If in the end Kielce and Veszprem are equal in points, the Hungarians have a better chance due to their higher goal difference in the direct encounter. If Medvedi and Veszprem are equal, the Russians are in the better position. If Kielce lose they can only qualify for the Last 16 if Berlin lose against Bjerringbro – and then the Germans would be out. 

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MKB Veszprem (HUN) vs. Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Saturday, 17:00 hrs local time

After the first half of this VELUX EHF Champions League season, this game would have been the top duel. Now it is the last chance for MKB Veszprem to proceed to the Last 16.

After five Rounds, Madrid have a 9:1 point record, Veszprem 8:2 – but as the still unbeaten team from Madrid (16 points) is already known as the Group winner after nine Rounds, Veszprem only won one match in the last four encounters – and have already missed two chances of qualifying for the Last 16.

The Spaniards cleary won the first leg 37:28 – and as Veszprem seemed to have lost their home strength, after two defeats against Füchse and Kielce, the game is open. If Berlin win and Kielce and Medvedi tie, the Hungarians would be out if they lose against Madrid.

 Group C

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

Cimos Koper need a victory against the Romanians to be able to finish second in this Group – and then they need to hope that Metalurg Skopje lose against Hamburg. If the Slovenians and the Macedonians are equal in points and Metalurg win the direct encounter, they would finish ahead of Cimos Koper in the end. Constanta is already out of the race for the knock-out stage and lost all their four previous away matches. Koper won the first leg 27:25 in Constanta.

St. Petersburg HC (RUS) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Sunday 15:00 hrs local time

Another “direct final”: St. Petersburg need to beat Orlen Wisla Plock with a difference of five goals to reach the Last 16 as they did last year.

As St. Petersburg won their last match at Constanta and Plock lost against Metalurg at home, the constellation before the last round shows that Plock are ahead with two points and won the first leg 30:26.

A defeat with at least a three goal difference would already be enough for Plock to go on to the Last 16.

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HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. HSV Hamburg (GER)
Sunday, 18:30 hrs local time

A draw would be enough for Metalurg Skopje to finish second in this Group – regardless of the results of the Cimos Koper vs. Constanta match. And, the Slovenians showed in Round 9 that it is possible to tie with the Group winner from Germany.

Metalurg have a high momentum after winning at Plock and scoring a series of 5:1 points in the last three matches. The importance of this game is low for HSV as they have already been named the Group winners since Round 8.

Group D 

AG Kobenhavn (DEN) vs. THW Kiel (GER)
Sunday, 16:50 hrs local time

Everything has been prepared for the big final in this Group: The hosts needs to beat THW to become Group winner in their first ever participation at the VELUX EHF Champions League. However, a draw is enough for the club from Kiel, which closely won the first leg 28:26 after being behind at the break.

This game is something special for some key players: AGK goalkeeper Steinar Ege played in Kiel before, his teammates Rene Toft Hansen and Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson will change their jersey next season from Kobenhavn to THW.

Both teams are clear leaders in their respective domestic leagues – and they each combine to have more than 1000 international matches in their squad. Also, the shooter’s duel Mikkel Hansen against Filip Jicha will be especially decisive. More than 500 fans from Kiel will travel 290 kilometres to the Danish capital for this decisive match.

Watch the match LIVE with full ENGLISH commentary at

Reale Ademar Leon (ESP) vs. Pick Szeged (HUN)
Sunday, 18:00 hrs local times

RK Partizan (SRB) vs. Montpellier Agglomeration (FRA)
Sunday, 19:00 hrs local time

Both duels stand clearly in the shadow of the Kobenhavn match as these two games do not have any meaning for the final ranking in this Group. Leon is already known as the third ranked team.

The Serbians will be highly motivated to to take their first points against their comrade Mladen Bojinovic, whilst Montpellier want to finish their black series of 2:8 points in the last five matches as Belgrade still wait for their first point.

TEXT: Björn Pazen