2018 finalists Athens continue title chase in IsraelArticle
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ROUND PREVIEW: Last season’s Men’s Challenge Cup finalists, A. E. K. Athens, are playing Ramhat Hashron in one of this weekend’s first-leg matches in the Last 16
»2018-19 Men's News

2018 finalists Athens continue title chase in Israel

Last season, A. E. K. Athens reached the final of the Mene’s Challenge Cup, where they were defeated by Romanian side AHC Potaissa Turda.

This season, Turda are not in the Challenge Cup, so a new winner will have to be found. No wonder Athens are dreaming of winning the title this time.

The Greek team have eliminated Bregenz Handball from Austria, and this weekend, they travel to Israel for the first leg of their Last 16 tie against AS SGS Ramhat Hashron.

This far, Ramhat Hashron’s best European achievement has been reaching the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup in the 2014/15 season. They can take a further step towards repeating that achievement by winning at home against A. E. K. Saturday evening.

High ambitions

ØIF Arendal lost the lead in the Norwegian league Wednesday through a surprising 30:24 away defeat to BK Halden. The team from Southern Norway want to get back to winning ways against Dynamo-Victor when receiving the team from Russian Stavropol for the first leg of the Last 16 Saturday evening.

After four years in a row in the EHF Cup Qualifiers, Arendal obviously have high ambitions in the Challenge Cup. They have eliminated two Turkish teams so far, and they will not want the current number eight in the Russian league to stand in their way either when the teams meet at Sparebanken Sør Amfi on Saturday.

While the female team of Femina Vise are trying to reach the quarter-final of the Women’s Challenge Cup this weekend in a double-header against Swedish Kristianstad Handboll, the men from from HC Vise BM are beginning their attempt to accomplish the same achievement far from home.

The Belgian team is going to Belarus for the first leg against HC Masheka, who are in a European Cup competition for the first time in seven years. Vise are in the Challenge Cup for the fifth time in a row, with three Last 16 berths as their finest achievements so far.

In order to make it a step further, they will undoubtedly need to escape a clear defeat in the Sport Complex Olympiets Mogilev Sunday afternoon.

Celebrating maiden season in Europe

There is also one double-headers this weekend, in the Hall Omnisport in Crauthem, Luxembourg. HC Berchem are hosting two matches against Dicken from Finland on Saturday and Sunday.

While HC Berchem have a long European history, Dicken are celebrating their maiden season in Europe this year. In Finland, Dicken usually stand in the shadow of Riihimäen Cocks, who win the Finnish championship year after year and who were in the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase this season.

Now, Helsinki-based Dicken have the chance of making their own mark in Europe.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew