Veszprém face Löwen test to seal top spotArticle
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GROUP C PREVIEW: Celje and Montpellier lock horns in a do-or-die battle while Hungarian boogeymen travel to Mannheim to maintain their 100 per cent run.

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Veszprém face Löwen test to seal top spot

Celje welcome Montpellier to decide on the last qualification spot but even the goal difference of their match would be of great importance while group leaders MKB-MVM Veszprém travel to Mannheim to spoil the home side’s immaculate home record. Vardar can also seal a place in the last 16 with a win in Chekhov, which would effectively drop out the Russian outfit.

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs HC Vardar (MKD)
Saturday, 6 December, 19.00 hrs, live on ehfTV

It is the last chance for Medvedi to keep their fading hopes of reaching the last 16 alive but with their much-improved form the home side can catch Vardar off guard at home. The visitors are wary but confident before their trip to Russia.

Medvedi are last with a single point but their previous encounters prove that the Russian champions are capable of pulling out great attacking performances even against the best teams of the competition. Chekhovskie regularly score above 30 goals and opponents who despise them and do not put their defences together are in for a nasty surprise.

Vardar flattened Medvedi in the second round, the 11-goal margin remains the biggest beating the Russians suffered so far this season. Vardar sit comfortably in 2nd place, however, the Macedonian outfit has not sealed their place in the last 16 yet. In order to do so they simply need to take both points from Chekhov, which would effectively end Medvedi’s hopes to qualify.

Be on the lookout for Dmitry Zhitnikov and Alexander Dereven from the home side or check out the wonders of Timur Dibirov going for yet another Goal of the Week against his former team.
Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs Montpellier Agglomeration (FRA)
Saturday, 6 December, 20.30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

If Celje beat fourth placed Montpellier the race for the last 16 continues to the last minutes of action but if Montpellier manage to win at Zlatorog the Slovenian champions are finished for the 2014/15 season. Taking the remaining games into account Celje could make a big step towards qualification with a win – and an even bigger one if it comes with a six+ goal margin.

Montpellier are capable of putting up great performances away from home (as they did in Chekhov and Veszprém), however, Celje are extremely hard to beat at home. The French outfit are still without some key players but they still bring home a couple of their established Slovenian stars including the club’s top scorer Dragan Gajic.

The young Celje side came up with yet another noteworthy performance in Skopje led by the excellent Ivan Sliskovic and Miha Zarabec but this time the Slovenian champions have nowhere left to hide: they need to beat Montpellier otherwise their Champions League campaign would be put to rest.

Montpellier won 35:29 in Round 2, which means Celje need a +6 goals win to leapfrog the French team, whose last visit in Celje resulted in a six goal defeat back in 2001.
Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs MKB-MVM Veszprém (HUN)
Saturday, 6 December, 21.00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

Hungarian boogeymen arrive to Mannheim to maintain their outstanding record against Löwen: Veszprém played seven games against their German counterpart (nine with the teams’ Cup Winners Cup final in 2008) and lost only one on the run.

While Veszprém’s 100 per cent record will be at stake in Mannheim the home side have a lot more to worry about as a defeat against the Hungarian champions could practically deny the Bundesliga leaders to finish above third place in Group C. Löwen’s roller coaster is heading up after their convincing win in Montpellier but the German outfit cannot afford to spoil their flawless home run in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Veszprém are once again complete as László Nagy returns from the injury that kept him out of action for almost two months. This match is shaping up to be a huge clash that is centered around two of the best goalkeepers of the competetion, Nicklas Landin and Roland Mikler thus one should not expect an enermous amount of goals.

High-flying Veszprém could seal the top spot if the Hungarian champions remain unbeaten after the massive test in Mannheim while Löwen can clinch qualification berth but should start looking back if they do not win this clash of titans.

TEXT: Bence Martha / br