Preview of Round 2 of the Men’s EHF Cup Group PhaseArticle
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La Rioja host defending champions Göppingen in the re-match of the 2010/11 semi-finals.

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Preview of Round 2 of the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase

Some unexpected close results, but also some clashes had imprinted the opening round of the newly installed Group Phase of the Men’s EHF Cup. Now in some groups the wheat can already be separated from the chaff in the second round – but the first eight matches had proven that the favourite role sometimes is not worth that much.

Group A:
In Group A the losers of the first round have the chance to gain their first points on home ground. In the re-match of the 2010/11 semi-finals of the old version of the EHF Cup La Rioja have the chance to take revenge against defending champions Frisch Auf Göppingen.

After their close defeat at Slovenian powerhouse Cimos Koper the Spaniards are not without a chance. Eskilstuna was beaten clearly in Göppingen – and the Swedish team is not supposed to be the favourite against the internationally much more experienced team from Koper, but on the home court they could be very dangerous..
The fixtures:
Eskilstuna Guif (SWE) vs. RK Cimos Koper (SLO)
Saturday, 16:00 hrs. local time
Naturhouse La Rioja (ESP) vs. Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)
Saturday, 20:00 hrs. local time

Group B:
After their more or less close – and closer than expected - opening victories Rhein Neckar Löwen and KIF Kolding have the chance to already forge ahead by home victories in the next round.

Before Germans and Danes clash in two direct duels they can make their cushion more comfortable. But their opponents from Prešov and Zaporozhye had proved in their openers that one should be aware of them and that they are well-deserved participants of this Group Phase.

The fixtures:
Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER ) vs. HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
Saturday, 19:00 hrs. local time
KIF Kolding (DEN ) vs. Tatran Prešov (SVK)
Sunday, 15:00 hrs. local time

Group C:
This group has had the closest of all results in the opening round by a draw of Holstebro vs. Maribor and a highly close Plock away victory at Elverum.

The two supposed top rivals of this group from Poland and Denmark will face on Sunday in Płock, while the Slovenians from Maribor are the favourite on home ground against the Norwegians. Again two close results can be expected in this round.

The fixtures:
RK Maribor Branik (SLO ) vs. Elverum Handball Herrer (NOR)
Saturday, 19:00 hrs. local time
Orlen Wisła Płock (POL) vs. Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN)
Saturday, 19:00 hrs. local time

Group D:
Only a clear improvement after the break prevented HBC Nantes, the hosts of the EHF Cup Finals, from a defeat at Bacău. Now the French team can prove their ambitions against Turkish champions from Istanbul, who have three away matches in the first three rounds.

After getting clashed at Magdeburg Besiktas hope for a better result at Nantes, though the hosts are the clear favourites. The Germans – who had lost Slovenian Aleš Pajovič, who transferred to N-Lübecke this week – have their second straight home match on Saturday, and Magdeburg are aware of the Romanians from Bacău after their strong performance against Nantes. Two home victories could already bring a four-point margin for the two group favourites.

The fixtures:
SC Magdeburg (GER) vs. Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacău (ROU)
Saturday, 15:00 hrs. local time
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs. Besiktas JK (TUR)
Sunday, 17:00 hrs. local time

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br