Montpellier challenge the championsArticle
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LAST 16 PREVIEW: Montpellier HB will face last year's VELUX Champions League winners KS Vive Tauron Kielce in the Last 16 of the European top flight competition

Montpellier challenge the champions

Every tournament winner wants to repeat their success, and KS Vive Tauron Kielce are no exception. Following the group phase, where they finished second in Group B -Talant Dujshebaev’s team now face Montpellier HB in Last 16.

  • Last season, Kielce beat Montpellier twice in the group phase
  • Both teams have won the tournament once: Montpellier in 2003 and Kielce in 2016
  • Kielce scored 415 goals in the group phase- the second highest number of goals scored, after Paris Saint-Germain


Montpellier HB (FRA) vs KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL)
Sunday 26 March, 17:00 local time, live on

The French team started their VELUX Champions League campaign in Group C, where they clearly dominated and finished first, winning eight of ten matches.

The next obstacle they faced was HC Motor Zaporozhye, in the Elimination Round for Group C and D. Both legs were very close- Montpellier played well in Ukraine where they won 36:34, and then a 29:29 home draw sufficed to get them into the Last 16.

In the last two seasons, Montpellier have reached the Last 16, but they did not proceed any further. This time, they hope to do better -head coach Patrice Canayer declared early in the season that his team’s goal in the European top flight competition was to make it to the quarter-final.

Now they are just one step away from reaching this target -but their forthcoming clash is challenging, as the French side face last year's VELUX Champions League winners.

During their triumphant season, Kielce faced Montpellier in Group B. They won all four points against them, winning 30:23 at home and 32:27 away.

Obviously, Kielce would like to upset their rivals once again, and go further to repeat their success in Europe from 2016.

However, it is not easy - and Kielce's coach Talant Dujshebaev knows that.

“Many Champions League winners did not even reach the FINAL4 in the next season, so some retreat is probably inevitable after such success,” he told

Nevertheless, Kielce have some reason to be optimistic following the Group Phase where they finished second in Group B behind HC Vardar.

In particular, the Polish champions were clinical in attack, 415 goals scored was the best result in the group and the second best in the entire Group Phase after Paris Saint-Germain. However, the team's defense looked vulnerable as they conceded 390 goals. They also suffered five defeats in 14 games.

On Tuesday, Kielce had a successful warm-up for the match in Montpellier as they comfortably beat MMTS Kwidzyn in the Polish league (35:24). Now Dujshevaev's team hope to bring home a good result from France.

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev/kc