Last chance to close the gapArticle
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GROUP D PREVIEW: It is last call for Schaffhausen, Metalurg and Elverum, when action starts again on Thursday

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Last chance to close the gap

Skjern Handbold, HC Motor Zaporozhye and HCM Baia Mare are all at eight points, while Kadetten Schaffhausen are on five, HC Metalurg on four and Elverum HH on three.

Therefore, it will be the last chance for Metalurg to close the gap, when they receive Motor Zaporozhye already on Thursday afternoon.

On Sunday in Norway, the same scenario applies to Kadetten Schaffhausen who need a win against Elverum in order to stay in the race for the knock-out stage, while Elverum can keep their own theoretical chance alive with a win.

Also Sunday, two of the top teams, Baia Mare and Skjern meet in Romania.

VELUX EHF Champions League Round 7
HC Metalurg (MKD) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
Thursday 12 November 17:45 local time, live on ehfTV

When the two teams met in Ukraine on the first match day of the group phase, Motor took a clear win, 30:24.

Another win will send the Ukrainian champions very close to the play-off round, while Metalurg cannot afford a defeat in the Boris Trajkovski arena, if the Macedonian outfit are to have a chance to take one of the two play-off positions in the group.

Metalurg coach Lino Cervar refuses to give up the hope.

“We will put up our best fight against Motor, no matter what our chances to reach the next round are.

“The hope is the last thing that dies, and we have a lot of motivation to play good and win,” Cervar said at a press conference in Skopje.

“This match is another chance for our young players to collect some experience and to prove themselves and their good potential.

“We feel no pressure, and that is a very nice situation to play good and win.

“Anyway, we think we can make this group very interesting and play a deciding role about which two teams are going on from the group,” the Metalurg coach added.

HCM Baia Mare (ROU) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN)
Sunday 15 November 16:00 local time, live on ehfTV

On 20 September, Skjern opened their first Champions League campaign in 13 years by defeating Baia Mare 32:28.

In the meantime, the Romanian champions, who are in the Champions League for the first time in history, have improved considerably, and at the moment, they are on top of the group with Skjern and Motor, all with eight points.

In their latest Champions League match, Skjern suffered their first home defeat, as they lost 29:25 to Schaffhausen in Skjern Bank Arena, and now the Danish team are in need of points on away court in order to compensate for that loss and stay at the top.

However, there is no doubt that they are in for a tough challenge in the Sala Polivalenta Lascar Pana, where Baia Mare are undefeated in the Champions League, having lost only point due to a 31:31 draw against Schaffhausen.

“It will be a war. Baia Mare need a win too, as they can probably not afford to lose at home,” Skjern coach Ole Nørgaard tells

“It will be very a very difficult match for us. No doubt that. On the other hand, a good result in Baia Mare would send us very well on our way towards the play-offs and would mean that the decision is still in our own hands,” Nørgaard adds.

Elverum Handball Herrer (NOR) vs Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI)
Sunday 15 November, 16:15 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

When Kadetten enter the Terningen Arena of Elverum Sunday afternoon, the Swiss champions will not only be chasing a further win in order to get in touch with the top of the group.

They will also be seeking revenge for being the only team who have lost to Elverum in the Champions League this season.

On the first match in the group, on 17 September, Elverum got their only win so far, as their Serbian playmaker Luka Mitrovic scored the winning goal in the last seconds of their 31:30 win in the BBC Arena.

“If we could win away, we can probably win at home too,” says Elverum coach Mikael Apelgren whose team are last in the group with three points and in desperate need of a win in order to keep their last theoretical chance of reaching the next round alive.

“However, we have to realise that Schaffhausen have improved in the meantime. Lately, they have started play the way we expected them to, so there is no doubt that we will have to play at our absolutely best to repeat the win from down there,” Apelgren adds.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br