The winner takes it all in HasseltArticle
«Go back

TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: For the first time in history a qualification group for the VELUX EHF Champions League is taking place in Belgium, as Hasselt is the venue of Group 3

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

The winner takes it all in Hasselt

It is a simple case of all or nothing for the four teams converging in Hasselt this weekend for Qualification Group 3 of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Belgian champions Hubo Initia Hasselt are hosting the group which also consists of three fellow national champions – HCM Constanta from Romania, Besiktas MOGAZ HT from Turkey and Haslum Handballklub from Norway.

Saturday sees the four teams meet in two semi-finals, from which the winners decide the only group phase ticket between them on Sunday.

The winner qualifies for Group B of the competition proper, where the opponents will be none other than reigning champions SG Flensburg-Handewitt as well as Spanish champions FC Barcelona, Danish champions KIF Kolding København and Swedish champions Alingsas HK, plus Polish runners-up Orlen Wisla Plock.

Haslum Handballklb (NOR) vs Besiktas MOGAZ HT (TUR)
Saturday 6 September at 17:30 hrs. local time

Neither team has been in VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase before. Besiktas were in the qualification tournament last year as well, but the Turkish champions finished fourth and last, leaving plenty of desire to improve.

As for Haslum, head coach Tom-Eirik Skarpsno faces the challenge of replacing one of the greatest talents in Norwegian handball for many years, Sander Sagosen, who has left for Danish Aalborg Handball.

“We have lost five good players to other leagues, including Sagosen. We have replaced them with five new players, but the question remains whether we can have the team working together for the qualifiers.

“It would be great for Norwegian handball if we get to play the likes of Barca and Flensburg in the group phase. I expect an equal match against Besiktas on neutral ground, but I see Constanta as overall favourites in the group,” Tom-Eirik Skarpsno told

HCM Constanta (ROU) vs Hubo Initia Hasselt (BEL)
Saturday 6 September at 20:00 hrs. local time

After four successive years in the Champions League and reaching the last 16 in the 2009/10 season, Constanta missed the group phase last year.

An impressive run to the EHF Cup Finals was suitable consolation last season and many tend to see the Romanian champions as favourites in this group.

However, Constanta´s head coach Zvonko Sundovski sees the group as equal: “In my opinion, the four participants in Group 3 in Hasselt have equal chances. I simply hope for the best team to win this tournament and proceed to the Champions League,” claimed Sundovski.

Hasselt coach Luc Boiten is a bit uncertain as to what to expect: “As far as I know, the Constanta team has changed because of some problems they have had. However, Constanta, Haslum and Besiktas are all very good teams, and no matter which one of them we meet, we will have to play our very best in order to stand a chance,” said Boiten.

3 / 4 Placement match
Sunday 7 September at 14:45 hrs. local time

The defeated semi-finalists from Saturday’s matches meet to decide third place. Both will continue to the EHF Cup, with the winners advancing to Qualification Round 3, while the defeated team will take on the winner of HC Olimpus-85-USEFS from Moldova against Hungary's Oroshazi FKSE-Linamar

Saturday 7 September at 17:00 hrs. local time

The two winners from Saturday complete the event in Brest with the battle first place and a ticket for Group A of the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase. The losing team will continue their European campaign in Qualification Round 3 of the EHF Cup.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor