Lucky Germans, dominant Balkan teamsArticle
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Hamburg, Belgrade, Skopje, Constanta and Minsk qualify for the Group Phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News

Lucky Germans, dominant Balkan teams

The die is cast, the final five spots confirmed, the Group Stage participants are completed: On Sunday evening Partizan Beograd (SRB), Metalurg Skopje (MKD) and HCM Constanta (ROU) won the finals of the three qualification tournaments of the VELUX EHF Champions League. HSV Hamburg became the lucky extra-time final victor of the wildcard tournament, while Dinamo Minsk took the second clear victory in the play-offs against Istanbul.

Due to this constellation 24 teams from 16 different nations will compete in the Group Phase. Germany is the only country with four teams in the VELUX EHF Champions League, followed by Spain with three clubs.

The second, third and fourth ranked teams of all tournaments and the loser of the play-offs will proceed to the new EHF Cup.

Qualification tournaments:

Group 1 in Belgrade/SRB

Final: RK Partizan (SRB) - RK Sloga (BIH) 31:16 (15:9)

With a demonstration of power Partizan Belgrade qualified for the second straight time for the Group Phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

The Serbian champions dominated the whole 60 minutes and their neighbours from Doboj, who failed to score a single goal in 20 minutes of the second half of this one-sided match. The encounter was pre-decided after only 18 minutes, when host Partizan led 10:1.

Though the  Bosnians were able to reduce the gap to only six goals at the break, their fate was sealed very early. When the score was 21:10 in minute 39, Partizan was through, but did not have enough, as the Serbs increased the margin to 25:11 in minute 45, before decelerating without any damage. The biggest distance was by  28:11. Top scorers were Maksic with nine goals for the victors and Pesic, who scored seven times for Sloga.

Partizan Belgrade will now face MAHB Montpellier/FRA, SG Flensburg-Handewitt/GER, Reale Ademar Leon/ESP, Chekhovski Medvedi/RUS and HSV Hamburg/GER in Group A of the Group Stage.

3-4 placement match:  Porto Vitalis (POR) - HC Lovcen (MNE) 31:25

The nine goals of Wilson Davyes and seven strikes of Ricardo Moreira were the key to the Porto victory.

Semi-finals on Saturday:

RK Partizan (SRB) vs. Porto Vitalis (POR) 27:25 (14:13)

RK Sloga (BIH) vs. HC Lovcen (MNE) 25:23 (13:10)

Group 2 in Rykkin/NOR

Final: Haslum HK (NOR) vs. HC Metalurg (MKD) 20:30 (8:16)

One year ago, Metalurg had to wait until the dying seconds of the match before the qualification for the Group Phase was sealed in the final against Haslum, this year the game was decided very early – despite the home advantage for the Norwegians.

Led by eight times goal scorer Filip Mirkulovski, the Macedonians started brilliantly, hit the net six straight times after 2:2 and extended the margin pre-decisively to eight goals at the break. And it took only six more minutes, before Naumce Mojsoski double-figured at 19:9. Haslum’s fate was sealed, Metalurg easily went to a clear final victory.

Metalurg Skopje now will face Bjerringbro Silkeborg/DEN, Gorenje Velenje/SLO, Vive Targi Kielce/POL, Chambery Savoie/FRA and HC St. Petersburg/RUS in Group C of the Group Stage.

3-4 placement match:  Alpha HC Hard (AUT) vs. HC Dinamo Poltava (UKR) 29:23 (16:10)

Mirko Krsvancic was the match winner for the Austrians, who finished the tournament victorious. He scored nine times, twice more than his teammate Domenik Schmid. On the other hand Shindin was best scorer for the Ukrainians, who had absolutely closely missed the final after their extra time defeat against Haslum on Saturday.

Semi-finals on Saturday:

HC Metalurg (MKD) vs. Alpha HC Hard (AUT) 25:19 (10:5)

Haslum HK (NOR) vs. HC Dinamo Poltava (UKR) 29:27 (24:24, 9:13) after extra-time

Group 3 in Constanta/ROU

Final: HCM Constanta (ROU) vs. TATRAN Presov (SVK) 26:21 (16:10)

16 saves of goalkeeper Mihai Popescu paved the way for the Romanian champions to the Group Phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League. It is the seventh participation of Constanta in this competition. Popescu was the key to the clear six goal margin at the break, and Constanta decided the game latest at 23:15 in minute 49. Toma (7) and Csepreghi (5) were the top scorers for the victors.

Constanta now will face defending champions THW Kiel/GER, Atletico Madrid/ESP, MKB Veszprem/HUN,  Sävehof IK/SWE, RK Pivovarna Lasko Celje/SLO in Group B of the Group Stage.

3-4 placement match: SSV Loacher Bozen Südtirol (ITA) vs. Maccabi Srugo Rishon Le Zion (ISR) 30:33 (19:14)

Maccabi returned home with a smile on their face and a final victory. Thanks to a clear improvement after the break and the fact that the Italians lacked power in the second half, the team from Israel took a tight victory. Bozen was dominant in the first 30 minutes, but thanks to a great catch-up chase Maccabi first equalised the five goal backlog and then decided the match. Top scorers were Rosenthal with nine goals for Maccabi and Radovcic, who scored eight times for Bozen.

Semi-finals on Saturday:

HCM Constanta (ROU) vs. SSV Loacher Bozen Südtirol (ITA) 33:22 (16:12)

TATRAN Presov (SVK) vs. Maccabi Srugo Rishon Le Zion (ISR) 36:20 (11:8)

Wildcard Tournament in St. Raphael (FRA)

Final: HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA) 32:31 (27:27, 13:15) after extra time

It took 67 minutes before the Germans were in lead for the first time – but in the end Hamburg were the lucky winners of the wild card final and qualified for the VELUX EHF Champions League for the sixth straight time.

The hosts had many chances to decide the game earlier, but finally missed their first ever qualification for the VELUX EHF Champions League. In a tense and exciting match, Saint Raphael were the better team in the regular 60 minutes.

Five minutes before the end of the regular time HSV was close to elimination, as the French team was in lead 26:22. But then Hans Lindberg scored and Dan Beutler saved. With their last energies Hamburg equalized and saved the extra-time, as Marcin Lijewski hit the net for 27:27. Saint Raphael was in the better position in the overtime until minute 67, when again Lijewski scored, and provided HSV with their first lead at 31:30. But Saint Raphael again equalised twice before Blazenko Lackovic first scored the 32:31 and then intercepted a French counter attack.

Top scorers were Lindberg and Heykel Megannem (Saint Raphael) with eight goals each.

HSV Hamburg now will face MAHB Montpellier/FRA, SG Flensburg-Handewitt/GER, Reale Ademar Leon/ESP, Chekhovski Medvedi/RUS and Partizan Belgrade/SRB in Group A of the Group Stage.

3-4 placement match: Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs. Cimos Koper (SLO) 27:21 (12:10)

Again Matjaz Brumen played outstandingly, again his team Cimos Koper left the court defeated. The Slovenian international scored 11 goals after his 10 goal gala in the semi-final against Saint Raphael. But like the French team on Saturday, the Polish team was better than Koper in the 3-4 placement match. Plock led throughout the whole 60 minutes and could not be endangered by the Slovenians. The Polish runners-up started with a 5:0 series, and even as Koper could intermediately reduce the margin to only two goals, they had the better means. Superb Petar Nenadic, who became Plock top scorer with seven goals, pre-decided the match by scoring the 17:10.

Semi-finals on Saturday:

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 28:26 (15:16)

Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA) vs. Cimos Koper (SLO) 28:23 (13:13)

Play-off matches in Minsk/BLR

Second leg: HC Dinamo Minsk (BLR) vs. Besiktas JK (TUR) 31:24 (15:13)

Dinamo made their way to the Group Stage like in 2010 – but this year the mountain they had to climb was not that steep. After the clear 30:22 result in the first leg the evening before, Minsk were not that motivated and as fast as on Saturday. Knowing that only a miracle could bring their Turkish opponent to the Group Stage, the Belorussians did not give all in this encounter. Besiktas were on an equal level in the first half and could keep up with the hosts until 23:20, then Minsk took the match more serious and decided the second duel latest at 27:21.

Dinamo Minsk now will face FC Barcelona Intersport/ESP, RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb/CRO, Füchse Berlin/GER, Kadetten Schaffhausen/SUI and Pick Szeged/HUN in Group D of the Group Stage.

First leg: Besiktas JK (TUR) vs. HC Dinamo Minsk (BLR) 22:30 (9:15)

TEXT: Björn Pazen