Play-off race heats up in Round 8Article
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GROUP C/D PREVIEW: It will be no mistakes allowed this weekend for six teams which have at least a reasonable chance of reaching the group phase knockout
»2018-19 Men's News

Play-off race heats up in Round 8

Winter time is coming, but the fight for the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase Knockout will heat handball fans up to the maximum.

There is no room for slip-ups anymore in Groups C and D as a number of teams face do-or-die games this weekend in their battle for the coveted play-off spots and, ultimately, the chance to challenge Europe’s best teams in the Last 16.

The crunch match in Group C takes place in Silkeborg on Sunday, when Bjerringbro and Presov can solve the puzzle in their group. Some 600 kilometres up north, in Norway, an expected sell-out crowd will cheer for Elverum against Dinamo Bucuresti, in a must-win game for the hosts to stay in contention in Group D, where leaders Wisla Plock have already won their midweek match against Thun.


Besiktas Mogaz (TUR) vs HC Metalurg (MKD)
Saturday 17 November, 16:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

  • With three games to go, both teams are out of the play-off contest

  • Those are the two teams with the most goals conceded in Group C

  • Hosts want to build on their improved second-half performance in Presov, while Metalurg are coming off an eight-day break

  • Besiktas lead 3-0-0 in the head-to-head stats

Sporting CP (POR) vs Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS)
Saturday 17 November, 18:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

  • For Sporting, every game is now a must win in the play-off race

  • Sporting have lost two of their three homes games this season

  • Carlos Ruesga, who scored the last-second goal against Medvedi in the first match, says “all the Champions League games are a final for us”

Bjerringbro/Silkeborg (DEN) vs TATRAN Presov (SVK)
Sunday 18 November, 13:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

  • Bjerringbro can all but lock up a play-off spot if they beat Presov by at least three goals on Sunday

  • Bjerringbro have won all three home games, and Presov all three away games so far in Group C

  • Bjerringbro’s only defeat came in Presov, 26:24

  • Both teams also met in the EHF Cup Group Phase last season, and each won their home game

  • The best attack (BSV) faces the best defence (Presov)

Abanca Ademar Leon (ESP) vs Riihimäen Cocks (FIN)
Saturday 17 November, 19:30 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

  • Leon need a victory to stay in contention for a play-off spot

  • Cocks buoyed by their first win of the campaign against Thun last weekend

  • The two sides could not be separated in Round 1, after Leon came from behind to snatch a 19:19 draw

  • The hosts must contend with Cocks’ Nico Rönnberg, who is the competition’s top scorer with 48 goals

Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU)
Sunday 18 November, 18:10 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

  • Elverum expecting a sold-out Terningen Arena for the first time, with 2,500 spectators

  • A must-win match for the hosts, who sit two points behind second-placed Dinamo

  • Dinamo won the reverse fixture 26:24 in Round 1

  • Two prolific scorers come face-to-face – Elverum’s Sigvaldi Gudjonsson (40 goals) and Bucharest’s Amine Bannour (46)

Wacker Thun (SUI) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 23:25 (13:14)
Thursday 15 November, match review

TEXT: Tomas Cuncik, Chris O'Reilly / ew