Blockbuster in Brest, Presov ring alarm bellsArticle
«Go back

GROUP C PREVIEW: Belarusian champions will try to extend their record winning streak, while Slovakian side is desperate to get first two points

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Men's News

Blockbuster in Brest, Presov ring alarm bells

The two top teams of Group C in the VELUX EHF Champions League La Rioja and Brest clash with the Spanish side coming up against a team who has taken maximum points from all their ties.

Presov fight for survival against Vojvodina, in match they have high hopes for taking their first points of the season.

In the strong home fortress of Porto, the Portuguese side want to build on their historic away win against struggling youngsters from Chekhov.

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Naturhouse La Rioja (ESP)
Wednesday 7 October 20:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

The schedule for this week’s VELUX EHF Champions League kicks off on Wednesday with a Group C blockbuster between unbeaten Meshkov Brest against second placed Naturhouse La Rioja.

Only one side (PSG) scored more goals than Brest (97) so far.

It will certainly be one of the highlights of the group phase, as both coaches consider it a crucial battle en route to the knock-out stages.

Can the aggressive defence of the Spanish side stop the best attacking team in the group? Are La Rioja strong enough to end the run of Brest, or will the home side take revenge for last year’s group phase defeat?

“We won, but we don’t take any satisfaction from our performance,” said Sergei Bebeshko after the successful game in Chekhov.

“The match against them will be like a ‘four-point match’ it is so important. We hope we will be as successful as Medvedi were against La Rioja,” added Bebeshko.

Brest will count on their powerful attack, which had 85 per cent efficiency rate in first half in Chekhov.

Dainis Kristopans looks to be in fine form in the right back position, while Rastko Stojkovic (line player) for Brest was nominated into the best team of SEHA League for September.

Watch out for La Rioja’s stars though. Richard Kappelin, supported by aggressive 5-1 defence, made 20 saves against Presov, but Brest’s attack will be a hard nut to crack.

Both sides met last year in the group phase, La Rioja winning the home encounter 39:31, and coming out level in Brest 33:33.

The home side are considered favourites, but their clumsy defensive display in Chekhov is a warning for them.

Angel Fernandez scored fourteen against Presov, showing good signs of form.

On a five-game winning streak, La Rioja will provide by far the most difficult task for Belarusian outfit.

Their defence will clash with the second best attack of the whole competition, so it will be interesting to watch the duels of Kappelin against Kristopans and Angel Fernandez against Ivan Pesic.

Tatran Presov (SVK) vs Vojvodina (SRB)
Saturday 10 October 15:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

These two side have an interesting few days ahead of them as they have two matches against each other in three days.

Tatran Presov welcome Vojvodina on Saturday in VELUX EHF Champions League clash, and two days later in SEHA League fixture they face off in the Tatran Handball Arena.

Tatran holds perfect record against Vojvodina as they look to extend the head-to-head record.

There’s only one team with a worse defensive record than Presov - the Slovakian side have conceded 100 goals so far, although coach Rastislav Trtik expressed satisfaction with the way their defence worked against La Rioja.

Four wins out of four matches in the SEHA league speak for Presov who also beat Vojovodina in the last year’s Champions League Qualification Tournament 25:12.

More similarities arise when we look at the current form. Vojvodina have only won one match so far this season, whilst Presov are on a four-game losing streak in international matches.

The left wingers for both clubs are their top scorers so far, Filip Marjanovic with 18 goals and experienced 37-year-old Tatran stalwart Radoslav Antl has 17 to his name.

In ideal conditions, Presov are considered favourites ahead of the tie. Considering their current form, Vojvodina have decent chance to build on their win against Medvedi, while it seems like a ‘must win’ encounter for the Slovakian side.

Futebol Clube do Porto (POR) vs Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS)
Saturday 10 October 18:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

The last match of the group will be played in Porto.

Boosted by their first away win in the European top flight, Porto welcome the young team from Chekhov as both teams chase the top two finish in the group.

Porto are a strong home side and a win over the young, and inexperienced side of Vladimir Maksimov will keep them in contention to progress.

Hugo Laurentino proves his quality between the posts for Porto.

He was the man of the match in Vojvodina, but coach Ricardo Costa warned his side about the last 15 minutes, when Dragons allowed Vojvodina to fight back.

Gilberto Duarte has been netting best for Porto with 16 goals, whilst a lot is expected on other side from Dmitry Kovalev, with a tally of 20 goals.

Vladimir Maximov was not happy with the team’s performance after defeat to Brest at home:

“We always speak about young players. However, if we play like today, we will not gain any valuable experience. It is clear that our bench is limited,” said the Russian coach.

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / bc, br