60 minutes for the final Last 16 berthArticle
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GROUP A PREVIEW: One Last 16 berth, a hot streak for Veszprém and a battle for fourth place are the highlights of the last round for Group A, which features four games played at the same time

60 minutes for the final Last 16 berth

All eyes will be on the two games that decide the final team to progress to the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16, with reigning champions Montpellier HB the only side in control of their fate.

A win against HC Vardar would see the French team through, while a loss would open up the battle in Brest, with the Match of the Week’s winner – Meshkov or IFK Kristianstad – taking it all.

Meanwhile, Telekom Veszprém HC can complete a six-game winning streak to finish the group in the second place if they take a victory against injury-hit Kielce, while Rhein-Neckar Löwen will be aiming to jump past the Polish side into fourth place when they travel to the home of the group winners, Barça Lassa.

All games will be played at 17:30 CET and fans will be able to tune in to all four games at the same time, courtesy of the new multiple screens feature on ehfTV.com

MOTW: HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE)
Saturday 2 March, 19:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • This is a do-or-die clash, with the victor possibly taking it all: If Montpellier lose, the winner of this clash will proceed to the Last 16

  • Kristianstad, who are in a must-win situation, are on a four-game losing streak. The Swedish side have never won more than three games in a season of the VELUX EHF Champions League

  • Brest are eyeing their fourth consecutive Last 16 berth, while Kristianstad never progressed to this phase of the competition

  • The two sides already met in Sweden this season, with Brest taking a 32:30 win

Barça Lassa (ESP) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)
Saturday 2 March, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Barça locked in first place in the group with last week’s win against Montpellier

  • The German side are still on the hunt for fourth place. Löwen are tied with Kielce on 14 points, but the Polish champions hold the tiebreaker

  • Barça have been scoring at a record pace this season – 456 goals in 13 games, for an average of 35 goals per match

  • The Spanish side’s 31st goal in the game will be their 9,000th in the history of the VELUX EHF Champions League. No other team has scored as many in the competition

HC Vardar (MKD) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Saturday 2 March, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • A loss will see the title holders eliminated from contention, irrespective of what happens in the Match of the Week between Brest and Kristianstad

  • Vardar secured third place last week and a win would see them leapfrogging Veszprém into second if the Hungarian side lose against Kielce

  • Montpellier’s only win in five games against Vardar came last season, when the French side eliminated the Macedonian powerhouse in the semi-final, 28:27

  • Montpellier cannot rely on last season’s VELUX EHF FINAL4 MVP Diego Simonet, who has a muscular injury

PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
Saturday 2 March, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • Veszprém are the in-form team in the VELUX EHF Champions League, with five wins on the trot

  • The Hungarian side will secure second place with a point, as they hold the tiebreaker over Vardar due to their 29:27 win two rounds ago

  • Coach David Davis’ side have won seven out of the 10 mutual games played between the two teams. However, Kielce won the most important of them three years ago, when they disposed of Veszprém in the Champions League final, 39:38, after a penalty shoot-out

  • Kielce’s injury woes continue, as the Polish side lost captain Michal Jurecki to a broken finger in the game against Löwen. Playmaker Luka Cindric will return, but brothers Alex and Daniel Dujshebaev are out

  • Veszprem have the top defensive record in the competition, conceding only 347 goals in their first 13 games, or an average of 26.6 per match

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg