Zagreb boast best defence, Barcelona and Kielce lead the way in attackArticle
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FACTS AND FIGURES: Discover all the vital statistics after the first eight match days in this season's VELUX EHF Champions League.

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

Zagreb boast best defence, Barcelona and Kielce lead the way in attack

The final whistle that brought Tuesday’s match between HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb and Paris Saint-Germain Handball to a close also signalled the conclusion of VELUX EHF Champions League action in 2014.

Eight of the total 10 rounds of the group phase have been played – and already 12 of the 16 participants for the next stage have been confirmed. 

And as Europe’s best enter the World Championship break, having played 96 of the 120 group matches, the time has come to take an in-depth look at what the vital statistics can tell us about the competition so far.

Teams already qualified for the last 16 

Group A:

THW Kiel (GER), Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) – two spots still open

Group B:

FC Barcelona (ESP), KIF Kolding-Kobenhavn (DEN), SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER), Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)

Group C:

MKB-MVM Veszprem (HUN), HC Vardar (MKD), Rhein Neckar Löwen (GER), Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA)

Group D:

Vive Tauron Kielce (POL), MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) – two spots are still open

Twelve teams from seven nations have so far clinched their berth in the knockout stage, but the only confirmed group winners are Kielce.



Points, points, points

But are Kielce also the best team? In terms of points, yes. 

The Polish champions are the only team with a perfect record and 16 points after winning all eight matches. 

Veszprem triumphed in their opening seven outings to rack up 14 points before losing out at Löwen last Saturday.

Kiel on the other hand lost their opener at three-time champions Zagreb, before bouncing back to win seven on the spin.

Barcelona are not far behind with 13 points while Kolding and Szeged have each tallied 12. 

The team with the lowest total at the end of 2014 are Russian champions Chekhovskie Medvedi, who have just a single point to their name, by virtue of a draw against Montpellier Agglomeration in their fifth game. The only team to match that four-game losing run are Kadetten Schaffhausen.


Best attack

The team with the lowest points tally have one of the best attacks? Impossible? Apparently not.

Medvedi scored 249 goals and sit third in this category. Their problems clearly lie at the other end of the court however, where they have conceded 288 goals, more than any other team.

Barcelona have the best attack after eight rounds with 276 goals, followed by Kiel with 254, Medvedi (249), Vardar (248), Kielce (248) and Montpellier (247).

Best defence

Two teams currently lying third in their groups boast the best defences.

Croatian champions Zagreb are the only side to have allowed fewer than 200 goals, at 198, while French champions Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral, third in Group D, have conceded only four more (202).

Third in this table are PSG (206) ahead of Kolding (207), Szeged (209), Aalborg (210), with the first group leader to appear in this category being Veszprem (216) – which suggests the majority of matches are being decided at the attacking end of the court.


Best goal difference

Again Barcelona are on top of this category. The Catalans have a goal difference of +48, streets ahead of the next best team Kielce (+36) as well as the likes of Kiel (+33), PSG, Kolding (+22 each) and Rhein-Neckar Löwen (+21).

Home and away

Of the 96 matches played so far, 53 have been won by the home team.

The visitors have triumphed on 35 occasions and in Group D the number of away victories (12) was greater than the number of home wins (10).

Eight matches ended in draws – two in each group, and in each group at least one team was part of both draws.

Both encounters between Kadetten and Aalborg ended in ties (23:23, 25:25). In Group A, Brest were involved in both ties while in Group B it was Kolding and Montpellier in Group C.

Goals, goals, goals…

A total of 5,424 goals were scored in the opening eight match days of the group phase, which equates to an average of 56,5 goals per game.

Group C tops the goalscoring charts with an impressive 1,452 goals (60.5 per match). In Group B 1,367 goals (56.9) were scored, 1,307 times the attackers in Group A netted (54.4) and the lowest total was Group D’s 1,298 (54.0). 

Biggest gaps

Nine matches ended with a winning margin of 10 or more goals, five of those coming in Group B. 

The duels that featured Barcelona and Alingsas ended with an aggregate goal difference of 23 goals.

Flensburg’s 35:21 defeat at the hands of Kolding was the heaviest loss ever suffered by of a the reigning Champions League winners in their opening match of the group phase.

The top 5:

+15 Metalurg vs. Kiel 27:42

+14 Kolding vs. Flensburg 35:21

+13 Barcelona vs. Alingsas 42:29

+11 Vardar vs. Medvedi 39:28

+ 11 PSG vs. Metalurg 35:24 



Highest number of goals

The two meetings of Vardar and Medvedi produced an incredible 141 goals in 120 minutes of play.

No less impressive were the duels between Medvedi and Veszprem, as they ended with a total of 138 goals, five more than in the rematches of the 2014 semi-final, Barcelona against Flensburg (133).

Thanks to Medvedi, Vardar, Veszprem, Löwen, Montpellier and Celje their group is clearly ahead in terms of matches with more than 60 goals as 13 of the 24 contests ended this way.  

In total, in 33 of 96 matches 60 or more goals were scored. 

The top 9:

73 goals: Medvedi vs. Vardar 34:39

71 goals: Barcelona vs. Alingsas 42:29

70 goals: Flensburg vs. Barcelona 33:37

70 goals: La Rioja vs. Brest 39:31

69 goals: Metalurg vs. Kiel 27:42

69 goals: Kielce vs. Szeged 37:32

69 goals: Schaffhausen vs. Zaporohye 32:37

69 goals: Medved vs. Veszprem 32:37

69 goals: Veszprem vs. Medvedi 38:31

Lowest number of goals

Only one match – the “Balkan defence battle” – ended with less than 40 goals, as Zagreb beat Metalurg 19:17. In just four other matches did the spectators see less than 45 goals.

Top 5:

36 goals: Zagreb vs. Metalurg 19:17

42 goals: Alingsas vs. Kolding 19:23

43 goals: La Rioja vs. Zagreb 22:21

43 goals: Szeged vs. Dunkerque 23:21

44 goals: Zaporozhye vs. Dunkerque 21:24

The top scorers

One Macedonian, one Serb and two Slovenians are among the top five scorers in the VELUX EHF Champions League so far – only third-ranked Russian Alexander Dereven (56 goals) broke into the Balkan scoring party.

Top of the goalscoring charts – as in so many competitions before – is Barcelona right back Kiril Lazarov (MKD) with 64 goals. Second ranked is last season’s overall Champions League top scorer Momir Ilic (SRB), who netted in 58 times for Veszprem. 

The two Slovenians Dragan Gajic (Montpellier) and Miha Zarabec (Celje) are in tied fourth spot with 53 goals each.




Twenty-nine of 96 group stage matches to this point have been attended by 5,000 people or more. 

Zagreb lead the way in terms of attendance with two matches catching the eye of more than 11,000 spectators – the visits of Kiel and PSG, the latter attracting more than 13,000 fans.

The third highest attendance was at the Group A match between Kiel and PSG, with more than 10,000 people turning out to see former Kiel players Thierry Omeyer and Daniel Narcisse ensure a losing return.

The top 9:

13,000 fans: Zagreb vs. PSG

11,000 fans: Zagreb vs. Kiel

10,170 fans: Kiel vs. Paris

9,500 fans: Zagreb vs. Metalurg

8,487 fans: Kiel vs. Zagreb

8,000 fans: Kiel vs. La Rioja

7,270 fans: Löwen vs. Veszprem

6,963 fans: Metalurg vs. Paris

6,300 fans: Flensburg vs. Barcelona

6,000 fans: Besiktas vs. Kolding

TEXT: Björn Pazen / jh