Old acquaintances meet again in group phase openerArticle
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MIDWEEK PREVIEW: Füchse Berlin and Saint-Raphael Var Handball saw a lot of each other last season and will reacquaint in the opening match of this season’s Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase
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Old acquaintances meet again in group phase opener

After three meetings last season, two EHF Cup regulars have the honour of opening the group phase on Wednesday evening.

· Füchse hoping to emulate their 2015 run to the title

· Saint Raphael chasing revenge for 11-goal defeat in last season’s semi-final

· Füchse and Saint Raphael also met in the group phase last season


Füchse Berlin (GER) vs Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA)
Wednesday 7. February 19:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Not only were Füchse and Saint Raphael in the same group last season, but they also met in the EHF Cup Finals, which the French side reached for the first time in their history.

After a win for each side in the group phase, Füchse were the superior side in the semi-final, winning 35:24 before going on to lose the final 30:22 against German Bundesliga rivals Frisch Auf Göppingen.

Saint Raphael are obviously seeking revenge for the big semi-final defeat, but they should not expect any gifts Wednesday evening in the MBS Arena in Potsdam.

“Maybe it is a good omen to play against Saint-Raphael again, as we want to go all the way to the EHF Cup Finals and even the final again,” said Füchse coach Velimir Petkovic.

Saint-Raphael currently sit fourth in the French league and their squad has not changed much since the last meeting. The most remarkable new arrival is national team player Xavier Barachet, who moved from Paris Saint-Germain over the summer.

Two core players will not be part of Füchse’s side: Serbian international Petar Nenadic moved to Veszprém in the winter break (and has been replaced by Zagreb’s Stipe Mandalinic), while German international Paul Drux is out for at least three months after injuring his right knee at the EHF EURO in Croatia, a major blow for the club lying second in the German league at the moment.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor