Barça eye 10th win in a rowArticle
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GROUP A/B PREVIEW: The Spanish powerhouse could edge closer to securing a quarter-final berth as winners of Group A, but their round 11 opponents Veszprém are riding their own three-game winning streak

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Barça eye 10th win in a row

A nine-game winning streak has led Barça Lassa to dominate VELUX EHF Champions League Group A, and the Spanish side are eyeing another win this weekend on Veszprém’s court. 

Veszprém are riding their own three-game winning streak, yet they failed to protect their home court against Vardar and Löwen. Therefore, Barça are hoping to extend their record to 10 straight victories, regardless of the injuries to Aron Palmarsson, Cedric Sorhaindo and Casper Mortensen.

Meanwhile, Montpellier find themselves in a must-win situation against Brest. Another misstep will see the French side virtually out of contention for a Last 16 berth.

Group B features the Match of the Week, which pits RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko against MOL-Pick Szeged. The Slovenian hosts are also in a must-win situation if they are to proceed to the next phase.

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs Barça Lassa (ESP)
Saturday 9 February, 17:30 local time, live on

  • After the World Championship, Barça miss left wing Casper Mortensen, playmaker Aron Palmarsson and line player Cedric Sorhaindo due to injury

  • Due to Mortensen’s injury, Serbian left wing Nemanja Ilic has joined Barça from Fenix Toulouse and could make his debut in the top European competition on Saturday

  • The sides have met 20 times in European cup competitions, with the Spanish powerhouse earning 14 wins, including a 31:28 result in the first game played between the two teams this season

There will be a moment of silence before the start of the game, in memory of former Veszprém line player Marian Cozma. The Romanian player was the victim of a tragic death 10 years ago, when he was killed while on a night out. The Hungarian side will also hand over the first Marian Cozma – Man of the Year Award, a humanity award decided by team vote, after the end of the match. 

Montpellier HB (FRA) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Saturday 9 February, 17:30 local time, live on

  • Title holders Montpellier are last in the group, with three points after 10 games, while Brest are in sixth place, tied with Kristianstad on five points

  • In the only previous European cup meeting between the two sides, Brest took the home win, 26:23, in September

  • Montpellier only won once in the first 10 games of the group phase – 31:26, on Rhein-Neckar Löwen’s home court

  • Brest are on an eight-game winless streak. They started the season with two victories, yet failed to build upon their fine form

IFK Kristianstad (SWE) vs PGE Vive Kielce (POL)
Saturday 9 February, 19:00 local time, live on

  • Kielce are on a two-game losing streak, having been defeated by both Barça and Vardar

  • The Polish champions are fighting for second place in the group, boasting a 12-point tally, while Kristianstad are level with Brest on five points

  • Former Veszprém coach, Ljubomir Vranjes, has replaced Ola Lindgren as Kristianstad’s coach

  • Kielce playmaker Luka Cindric and left back Daniel Dujshebaev are injured and will not play

  • The Polish side won three of the five mutual meetings, yet they are not unscathed – they have never taken a victory on Kristianstad’s court

MOTW: RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Sunday 10 February, 17:00 local time, live on

  • In the first leg of the confrontation, Celje lost clearly to Szeged, 24:33

  • If they were to win, Szeged would take a huge step towards securing their place among the two first teams in Group B

  • 250 Szeged fans will travel to Slovenia to support their team

  • The last time the Hungarian side visited Celje, they won 31:25

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday 10 February, 18:00 local time, live on

  • Flensburg count four newly crowned world champions among their ranks: Lasse Svan, Simon Hald, Rasmus Lauge and Anders Zachariassen

  • In the first leg, Flensburg won 31:24 at home

  • Out of their seven points, Zaporozhye took five of them at home

  • In their last four games of the group phase, Flensburg will face direct opponents for qualification to the next stage: Zaporozhye, Celje, Zagreb and Nantes

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN)
Sunday 10 February, 17:00 local time, live on

  • In October, the mutual clash between these sides ended in a draw, 31:31

  • This will be the first Champions League match for Zagreb without former coach Lino Cervar on the bench, and also without Belgian playmaker Arber Qerimi, who left in January

  • Two Skjern players took part in the World Championship Final, playing for Norway: Bjarte Myrhol and Eivind Tangen

  • Skjern are currently bottom of the table with six points; two less than Zagreb

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / Kevin Domas / cg