Kolding want to stay unbeaten, Alingsas take on mission impossibleArticle
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GROUP B PREVIEW: FC Barcelona and KIF Kolding Kobenhavn with the chance to stretch their lead, while Plock can all but secure their Last 16 participation

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Kolding want to stay unbeaten, Alingsas take on mission impossible

SG Flensburg-Handewitt will not only be chasing revenge for their 14-goal defeat in the opening round against KIF Kolding København when the two teams meet again Sunday evening, they will also be fighting to defend their third place.

FC Barcelona may increase their lead in Group B of the VELUX EHF Champions League even further with a home win against Alingsas HK, while Besiktas MOGAZ HT can boost their hopes of reaching the knock-out stage in case of win at home against Orlen Wisla Plock.

VELUX EHF Champions League Group B 

FC Barcelona (ESP) vs Alingsas HK (SWE)
Saturday 29 November 16:15 hrs local time live on ehfTV

Alingsas bagged their first points in the competition last week as they won 27:24 at home against Besiktas, but head coach Mikael Franzén admits that the task will be completely different away against Barcelona who won 38:28 in Sweden in the first meeting between the two teams.

“We are meeting one of the absolutely best teams in the world, which Barcelona demonstrated lately against Flensburg. I do not think that there are any teams in Europe with the same quality, and I think they have improved their game even further this season,” Franzén tells ehfCL.com.

“We are in need of points after Plock drew against Kolding, but winning in Barcelona will be an almost impossible task. To us, it will be a quest to make so good an effort that we can be proud of ourselves after the match.

“And who knows. With a really good effort, we may be able to spring a surprise, but we still have to remember that we are meeting the probably best team in the world,” says Mikael Franzén.

To Barcelona, who are leading the group after only having lost one point, the match may be a question of increasing their lead further.

If Kolding Kobenhavn lose away against Flensburg, Barcelona will be three points ahead of the Danish champions if they defeat Alingsas, and in case of a Kolding win, Barcelona will have a gap of seven points to Flensburg in third position.

Besiktas MOGAZ HT (TUR) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 
Saturday 29 November 17:00 hrs local time live on ehfTV

Three points are separating Besiktas in sixth position and Plock, who are fourth and currently occupying the final position which gives access to the Last 16.

In their latest home match, a fortnight ago, Besiktas got their first Champions League points as the Turkish debutants defeated Alingsas 28:26.

In the return match in Sweden, however, Besiktas ran into a 27:24 defeat and were sent back to last position in the group.

Ahead of the Sunday game against Plock, the Turkish team cannot find much reason for optimism in their first meeting with the Polish runners-up either, as that game was lost 28:19.

However, there is always a difference between home and away, and with their enthusiastic crowd supporting them, Besiktas definitely have a chance against Plock who did tank fresh self-confidence last weekend, though.

Their surprising 30:30 draw away against KIF Kolding Kobenhavn is their best result in the campaign so far this season, and their first point in eight games against the Danish champions.

It obviously also boosted Wisla Plock's chances to qualify for the Last 16 and even allows them to also hope for the third position. A win in Istanbul and a Flensburg defeat against Kolding would put them there.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN)
Sunday 30 November 19:30 local time live on ehfTV

Kolding Kobenhavn, and Flensburg for that matter, took the entire handball world with surprise on the 28 September, as Kolding defeated the ruling VELUX EHF Champions League winners 35:21.

Obviously, Flensburg will be seeking revenge for that humiliating defeat, when they take on Kolding in the Flens Arena Sunday evening, but they will be meeting a Danish team who seems to be almost impossible to defeat at the moment.

When Kolding won 24:19 away against Team Tvis Holstebro in the Danish league Wednesday evening, it was their 30th match in succession without defeat, counting Champions League matches, Danish league matches and Danish Cup matches.

According to veteran and defence specialist Lars Jørgensen, Kolding are going to Flensburg for another win.

"Of course, the 14 goals from the first match are far from giving a realistic picture of the difference in strength between our two teams, and we realise that we are going to play in one of the toughest away arenas in Europe.

“However, we have shown before that we can manage such environments, and we definitely want to keep our undefeated record,” 36-year-old Jørgensen told ehfCL.com.

Many Danes are expected in the Flens Arena Sunday, but Jørgensen is not sure that this will mean an advantage to his team.

“Many Danish fans will be supporting Flensburg,” he believes, while Flensburg's Danish left wing Anders Eggert disagrees.

“They will come to cheer for KIF,” expects the 32-year-old Danish international.  

To Flensburg, the match is not only about revenge, but also about holding on to the third position and keeping the thin hope for second position alive.

“We definitely have to finish in third position to have a chance to proceed from the Last 16,” Anders Eggert told ehfCL.com.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor