D-day in Schaffhausen and DunkerqueArticle
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GROUP D PREVIEW: Swiss champions are currently in the promotion spot but have been bitterly dissapointed in Kiev, while French title holders dwell at the bottom of the group with time slowly running out.

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D-day in Schaffhausen and Dunkerque

Half of the games have been played in the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase and the teams have played each other. While there is no surprise at the top of the Group D, there are a lot of contenders for promotion and every match from now on is crucial.

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
Thursday 20 November at 20:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV
The Swiss champions are currently in the promotion spot after two unexpected feats - a draw in Aalborg and a home victory over Dunkerque, but have been bitterly dissapointed in Kiev. Motor gave them no breathing room in the last round and achieved their first victory of the season.

It looks like they have also managed to decluster their good performance throughout the whole 60 minutes and are capable of providing attacking power from more angles.

The best scorers last time around were Sergiy Onufriyenko and Oleg Skopintsev with nine goals a piece and Kadetten face a tough task in defence as Sergii Burka and Olexander Shevelev remain dangerous as ever.

The hosts will have to make do once more without the suffering star goalkeeper Nikola Portner, but have welcomed back Manuel Liniger from injury. This will be a very important match for both - the winner will have made a huge step to the next round.

Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral (FRA) v MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Saturday 22 November at 14:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

The question remains - when, if at all, will the French champions live to their potential? With a solitary victory from Ukraine they dwell at the bottom of the group and time (and matches) is slowly running out.

Coach Cazal still struggles with consistency of his team, especially in attack where only Benjamin Butto is fulfilling his quota. Dunkerque's goalkeeper Vincent Gerard is having a magnificient season, but it is frustrating that his teammates cannot convert this into points.

In the first encounter a few days ago it was tight to the very end (23:21) and Dunkerque are hopeful that the tide will turn after all.

Szeged - who succesfully employed a 5-1 defensive zone in the last match - are expecting that playmaker Dean Bombac's injury is forgotten as and that he will spice up their attack. Zsolt Balogh is in fine shooting form and the Hungarian outfit is confident before the match in the north of France.

But to secure another win, more danger will have to come from the backcourt.

KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL) vs Aalborg Handball (DEN)
Sunday 23 November at 15:10 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

Aalborg have lost to the Polish favourites 25:27 at home in the last round, but it was not as close as the score line suggests. Kielce controlled the game practically from the first minute and allowed the opponent only a couple of surges and have secured a comfortable win with plenty of time to spare.

Talant Dujshebaev's men are enjoying a perfect season so far and the Danish team will have to play a flawless game in order to surprise them on their home court.

Ole Erevik will at least have to repeat his performance in goal and Erik Berggren will need his teammates to step up in attack. But it will be extremelly difficult against the tall defensive wall of Kielce, who have two quality players competing for every playing position. This one sure feels like a home win.

TEXT: Grega Sever / br