Four former winners, but no defending championsArticle
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FACTS AND FIGURES: Only five nations represented in the quarter-finals of the VELUX EHF Champions League, which in three of four pairings are re-matches of former quarter-finals.

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Four former winners, but no defending champions

Eight times 60 minutes are ahead, then the four VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants of the 2016/17 season will be confirmed. After the completion of the Last 16 on Sunday night, here are the most important Facts and Figures of the competition­

0 times since the implementation of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2010, any champion had defended their title: Like Hamburg in 2014 and Flensburg in 2015, now Kielce already failed in the Last 16. Before, Kiel (2011) and Barcelona (2012 and 2016) had been eliminated in the quarter-finals. Kiel were the ones to go the most far way, as they made it to the 2013 final, failing against Hamburg.

0 EHF Champions League debutants made it among the last eight teams: HBC Nantes were the last to be eliminated.

1 time in the history of the EHF Champions League - this season - two French teams are among the quarter-finalists.

1 club is part of both - male and female - EHF Champions League quarter-finals: Vardar Skopje.

1 team - Kiel (against Löwen) - turned a first leg-defeat in the Last16 into the ticket to the quarter-finals.

1 Last 16 match ended with a margin of ten goals: Veszprem vs Zagreb (29:19). Since the start of the group phase, ten of 196 matches so far ended with a difference of ten and more goals only.

1 Last 16 match ended with a draw: Nantes vs Paris (26:26). In total, the number of draws since the start of the group phase is 17.

1 club - Vardar Skopje - made it to the previous three quarter-finals, but never made it to Cologne.

1 goal in aggregate was the smallest margin in the Last16 duels, scored by Kiel against Löwen (50:49).

2 teams - FC Barcelona Lassa from group A and Vardar Skopje from group B - had  directly qualified for the quarter-finals, in which both will face German teams.

2 knock-out duels France vs Hungary in the same stage had never occurred in any EHF Champions League season.

3 of the current quarter-final pairings had been duels in the same stage of the competition before: In 2006, Veszprem eliminated Montpellier, in 2014 Flensburg beat Vardar to win the trophy later. And in the two duels Barcelona vs Kiel in 2011 and 2016 the respective defending champions were eliminated, first THW, then Barcelona.

4 former or current EHF Champions League winners - representing 13 titles - still have the chance to win the trophy again: FC Barcelona (8 times winner), THW Kiel (3), Flensburg and Montpellier (each 1).

4 teams - Montpellier, Veszprem, Flensburg and Szeged - won both Last 16 duels.

5 coaches still involved in the competition have won the EHF Champions league at least once: Alfred Gislason (Kiel/4), Xavi Pascual (Barcelona/2), Patrice Canayer (Montpellier), Noka Serdarusic (PSG) and Ljubomir Vranjes (Flensburg/each 1). Juan Carlos Pastor led Szeged to the 2014 EHF Cup trophy.

5 different nations are represented by those 8 teams, still in competition - Germany, France and Hungary (each 2), Spain and Macedonia. Last season, it had been seven different nations, with only Germany having two teams.

5 of those 8 teams still involved in the competition have been part of at least one VELUX EHF FINAL4 (inaugurated in 2010): Kiel (six participations, two trophies), Barcelona (five participations, two trophies), Veszprem (three participations), PSG and Flensburg (one participation each, one trophy for Flensburg).

5 home wins only occurred in the 12 Last16 matches. Since the start of the group phase 107 times the home team was the victor.

6 former or current top scorers of the VELUX EHF Champions League are still on court in the quarter-finals: Momir Ilic (2014/15  - 114 goals, 2013/14 - 103 goals, Veszprem), Mikkel Hansen (2011/12 - 98 goals for AG Kobenhavn, 2015/16 - 141 goals for PSG, now PSG), Uwe Gensheimer (2010/11- 118 goals, Rhein Neckar Löwen, now PSG), Filip Jicha 2008/09- 99 goals, and 2009/10 - 119 goals for Kiel, now Barcelona), Kiril Lazarow (2007/08 - 96 goals and 2005/06 - 85 goals for Veszprem, now Barcelona), Nikola Karabatic (2006/07 - 89 goals for Kiel, now PSG).

6 of the eight current quarter-finalists had been part of the same stage in the previous season: Barcelona, Veszprem, Flensburg, Kiel, Vardar and PSG.

6 times in 12 Last16 matches, the away teams were the winners, the number of away victories since the start of the group phase is on 64 now.

7 former or current IHF World Handball Players of the Year are still in competition: Nikola Karabatic (2007, 2014, 2016/PSG), Mikkel Hansen (2011, 2015/PSG), Domagoj Duvnjak (2014/Kiel), Daniel Narcisse (2012/PSG), Filip Jicha (2010/Barcelona), Thierry Omeyer (2008/PSG) and Arpad Sterbik (2005/Vardar).

7 of 7 times the LANXESS arena was sold out for all VELUX EHF FINAL4 events so far. The contract with the arena to host the event runs until 2020.

8 defeats - as many as never before in a single CL season - were conceded by THW Kiel, but still they fight for the trophy.

11 goals were the biggest overall margin in the 2017 Last16 duels, both scored by Hungarian teams (Veszprem vs Zagreb/52:41 and Szeged vs Bjerringbro/59:48).

13 times in a row now, THW Kiel have made it at least to the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League.

16 goals were scored by Nedim Remili (PSG) in both duels with Nantes to be the top scorer of the Last16. The French right back is ahead of two more players from the French league, Jure Dolenec (15/Montpellier) and David Balaguer (14/Nantes).

18 times each, including the current season, THW Kiel and FC Barcelona Lassa have qualified for the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League. Thus, they are ahead of MVM Veszprem (16), Flensburg (10), Montpellier (7), Vardar, PSG and Szeged (each 4).

18 goals were the biggest gap in the competition so far, when PSG beat Kiel 42:24 in the group phase.

45 goals was the low score of a Last16 match, when Veszprem won 23:22 at Zagreb. Still, the 35 goals in the group match Metalurg vs Elverum (18:17) are the overall low score of the season.

52 matches since the start of the group phase had been attended by 5,000 or more spectators, four of them in the Last16.

62 goals only were the high score of the Last 16 matches, when Paris beat Nantes 35:27. The overall high score of the season is still the group match Vardar vs Kielce (40:34), one of only four matches so far with an overall of more than 70 goals.

62 times, more than 60 goals were scored in all matches since the start of the group phase, twice only it happened in the Last16.

96 goals, including 13 in the Last16, were scored by Uwe Gensheimer (PSG) to top the top scorer ranking before the quarter-finals. The German born left wing is ahead of Gabor Csaszar (Schaffhausen) and Momir Ilic (Veszprem, bot on 84 goals).

196 matches - more than ever - have been played so far to decide the participants of the quarter-finals: 8 qualification matches, 112 matches in groups A and B, 60 matches in groups C and D plus four play-off matches and twelve Last16 matches.

633 goals had been scored in the twelve Last 16 matches only. The average of 52,75 is lower than the average of the group phase (55,72).

5,553 spectators in average saw the twelve Last16 matches.

10,000th goal of the season was scored by Flensburg’s Rasmus Lauge for the 19:16 in the first leg at Brest.

10,440 goals were scored since the start of the group phase in the VELUX EHF Champions League 2016/17 season.

12,250 spectators in the match Zagreb vs Veszprem were the highest attendance in the Last 16 (and the whole Champions League season) ahead of the all-German duels Löwen vs Kiel (10,712 at Mannheim, 9,986 at Kiel).

Top rankings of the season:

High score:

74 goals: Vardar vs Kielce (40:34)
72 goals: Celje vs Brest (36:36)
71 goals: La Rioja Chekvovski Medvedi (34:37)
70 goals: Zaporozhye vs Montpellier (34:36)
69 goals: Bjerringbro vs Schaffhausen (37:32)
62 goals: PSG vs Nantes (35:27/Last16)

Low score:

35 goals: Metalurg vs Elverum (18:17)
40 goals: Veszprem vs Kiel (21:19)
42 goals: Flensburg vs Plock (22:20)
42 goals: Brest vs Zagreb (21:21)
44 goals: Szeged vs Vardar (21.23)
44 goals: Zagreb vs Celje (23:21)

45 goals: Zagreb vs Veszprem (22:23/Last16)

Biggest gaps:

18 goals: Paris vs Kiel (42:24)
15 goals: Barcelona vs Bjerringbro (34:19)
14 goals: Nantes vs Besiktas (33:19)
13 goals: Barcelona vs Schaffhausen (38:25)
13 goals: UMinho vs Zaporozhye (22:35)

10 goals: Veszprem vs Zagreb (29:19/Last16)

Top scorers:

96 goals: Uwe Gensheimer (PSG)
84 goals: Gabor Csaszar (Schaffhausen)
84 goals: Momir Ilic (Veszprem)
81 goals: Rasto Stojkovic (Brest)
78 goals: Julen Aguinagalde (Kielce)

Top scorers still in competition:

96 goals: Uwe Gensheimer (PSG)
84 goals: Momir Ilic (Veszprem)
75 goals: Zsolt Balogh (Szeged)
75 goals: Jure Dolenec (Montpellier)
75 goals: Mikkel Hansen (PSG)

Biggest attendance of all matches:

12,250: Zagreb vs Veszprem
11,500: Zagreb vs Celje
10,712: Löwen vs. Kiel
10,285: Kiel vs Flensburg
10,285: Kiel vs Veszprem
10,285: Kiel vs Bjerringbro
10,285: Kiel vs PSG
10,204: Bjerringbro vs PSG

TEXT: Björn Pazen / si