Veszprem look to seal first place against CeljeArticle
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GROUP C PREVIEW: As the matter of qualification has been settled, teams can now focus on positions in the group behind Veszprem, a team on the verge of clinching top spot

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Veszprem look to seal first place against Celje

All four qualification placed have been confirmed, but not one position has been confirmed in arguably the VELUX EHF Champions League’s toughest group.

Veszprem can seal top spot against Celje but there will be a struggle for the remaining positions as Vardar take on Montpellier and Löwen make the trip to Chekhov.

HC Vardar (MKD) vs Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA)
Saturday 14 February, 19:00 hrs local time live on ehfTV

Both teams have qualified for the knockout rounds but there is still a lot to play for. Vardar, who held on to their second spot for the entire group phase could still end up fourth if they lose focus, while the French outfit have a chance to avoid a group winner in the quarter-finals.

However, Vardar, too, desperately need a win if they want to keep the re-born Löwen behind (the two meet in Mannheim in the last round) and the Macedonians know they cannot afford another slip up in their beautiful new Jane Sandanski Arena.

Montpellier, who were struggling with injury problems for most of the season, played out an exciting draw against Vardar at home but the hard-fought point would not help the French team this time. If they are to climb up the standings, they need to win in their first away match against Vardar.

Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)
Sunday 15 February, 14:00 hrs local time

The Russian champions made a promising return to the top flight of European handball, however, in spite of some strong performances Medvedi are still going after their first victory of the season.

Löwen on the other hand started slowly but their near-perfect performance against Veszprém proved that they are a true VELUX EHF FINAL4 contender.

It took the German outfit almost two months to get their act together but as we reach the business end of the group Löwen are still in the race for the second spot in Group C, for which they simply need to win in Chekhov (and beat Vardar at home in the last round). Considering how well they played in December it would not come as a surprise.

Chekhovskie introduced some outstanding talents to Europe (Dmitry Zhitnikov and Alexander Dereven to name just two), but still need a lot of work especially on their defence. The Russian champions will be eager to prove they are a match for any European hot shot and Löwen provides the perfect opportunity to bow out with a grand finale. 

MKB-MVM Veszprem (HUN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)
15 February, 18:45 hrs local time

The last time Celje paid a visit to Veszprem a huge drama unfolded as David Razgor missed a last-second penalty which would have saved a point for the visitors. This year, such a thrilling finish with any outcome would not change the fact Celje are out and Veszprém are through, but the young Slovenian team is always up for a spectacle.

The youngest side of the VELUX EHF Champions League was one of the most exciting teams to watch this season – and certainly the best to wave goodbye to the competition at such an early stage. It is not an overstatement to suggest that Group C is the only from which Celje could not have made it to the knockout round.

Veszprem are over their only slip up in the group and are ready to make their fans happy with yet another first place finish from a very difficult group.

On the eve of the game, the Hungarian champions extended the contract of Spanish playmaker Chema Rodriguez until the end of the 2015/16 season.

TEXT: Bence Martha / cor