Barcelona and KIF with the chance to increase their lead even furtherArticle
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GROUP B PREVIEW: FC Barcelona and KIF Kolding Kobenhavn can increase their lead in the group even further this week.

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Barcelona and KIF with the chance to increase their lead even further

FC Barcelona and KIF Kolding Kobenhavn have the chance to increase their position as number one and two in Group B of the VELUX EHF Champions League even further, when the second half of the group phase starts this week.

Barcelona, who are currently leading the group due to a goal difference which is one goal better than Kolding, are favourites at home against SG Flensburg-Handewitt, whom they defeated 37:33 away last weekend, and Kolding may also be expected to take two further points at home against Orlen Wisla Plock despite missing Swedish star Kim Andersson due to injury.

Besiktas MOGAZ HT are chasing their first away points ever in the Champions League history, when they go to Sweden to meet Alingsas HK already Thursday.

Group B
Alingsas HK (SWE) vs Besiktas MOGAZ HT (TUR)
Thursday 20 November at 19.00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

Besiktas wrote history on Sunday, as they got their first points ever in the Champions League through a 28:26 home win against Alingsas.

The two teams meet again, this time in Estrad Arena in Alingsas, where Besiktas will now be chasing the first away points in their Champions League history.

Furthermore, another win will allow the Turkish Champions League debutants to hope for a ticket for the Last 16, as two points in Sweden may very well bring them on the same number of points as Orlen Wisla Plock, who are currently in fourth position, and who are facing a very difficult away match against KIF Kolding Kobenhavn Sunday.

To Alingsas, it will first and foremost be a question of erasing the annoying zero in the points account. Together with HC Metalurg in Group A, the Swedish champions are the only team in the Champions League who have not achieved a single point this far.

However, Alingsas were leading for great parts of the first meeting between the two teams in Istanbul on Sunday, so maybe this time will be the lucky day for the entirely Swedish outfit.

KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Sunday 23 November at 16.55 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

Wisla Plock do not have happy memories about playing against Kolding. Not only have they lost all their seven EHF Champions League matches against the Danish club.

They have also suffered their largest defeat ever in the tournament against none other than Kolding. 35:18 did Kolding win at home on 7 October 2006. This was also Kolding's biggest Champions League win until now.

No less than 19:4 were the hosts leading at half-time, and in the last 30 minutes, Kolding coach Ulf Sivertsson could even afford to try out some of his players in unusual position. For instance was line player Jesper Noddesbo quite successful on the left wing.

Plock may find some consolation in the fact, that while they suffered that 17-goal defeat in Koldinghallen, their away match against KIF Sunday is taking place in Brondbyhallen, where the Polish visitors will not only be seeking revenge to the 29:28 defeat at home to Kolding last Thursday, but also try to improve their position in the group.

They will be facing a Danish team who are likely to be missing one of their greatest stars, right back Kim Andersson.

The 32-year-old Swedish international injured a finger in the game in Plock last week and is expected to be fit again, when KIF are meeting SG Flensburg-Handewitt away on 30 November.

Kolding coach Aron Kristjansson does not see it as a disaster to be missing Andersson, though.

“We have several players who can cover his position in the defence, and who can fill in for him in our attack,” Kristjansson told the club's website.

FC Barcelona (ESP) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday 23 November at 19.30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

With their 37:33 win in the Flens-Arena in Saturday, Barcelona did not only get their revenge for the defeat against Flensburg in the VELUX EHF FINAL4 semi-final last season.

They also concurred the first place in the group, one goal ahead of KIF Kolding Kobenhavn, and furthermore, they increased their lead to Flensburg in third position to three points.

Sunday evening in the Palau Blaugrana, the Spanish top team can increase that distance even further, and they are obvious favourites to do so.

In spite of the four goal-defeat on Saturday, Flensburg were quite content with their performance in that game, but it is a big question, if that will be sufficient for a better result on away ground, even though Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual found the need to issue a word of warning.

“We will have to be careful, we can also lose against Flensburg,” Pascual told Flensburg's website.

Statistically, he cannot find much reason for pessimism, though. Barcelona have won both their previous home matches against the team from North Germany.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br