Zagreb and Zaporozhye in long-distance battle for fifth placeArticle
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GROUP B PREVIEW: HC PPD Zagreb and Motor Zaporozhye are the focus of the final group phase round, as both sides aim for fifth place on a table where the rankings are otherwise set

Zagreb and Zaporozhye in long-distance battle for fifth place

Almost all positions in Group B of the VELUX EHF Champions League are now set. In round 13, Paris Saint-Germain HB secured first spot on the table and a direct ticket to the quarter-finals for the second season in a row. MOL-Pick Szeged will finish second, while SG Flensburg-Handewitt take third and HBC Nantes are fourth after their draw on Wednesday.

Fifth place, however, is yet to be decided, as HC Motor Zaporozhye only count one point more than HC PPD Zagreb. At the bottom of the ranking, RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko and Skjern Handbold cannot qualify for the Last 16 but will battle to avoid finishing last.

Skjern Handbold (DEN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)
Sunday 3 March, 16:50 local time, live on

  • Celje enter the final round second last in the group with seven points, while Skjern close the ranking, standing one point behind

  • In the first leg, the Danish side won 27:26 in Slovenia

  • As they will both leave for Nantes in the summer, this will be Sebastian Augustinussen and Emil Nielsen’s last Champions League game with Skjern 

  • This is the fifth straight time Celje have ended their campaign in the group phase of the Champions League. If they finished seventh this season, it would be their fourth seventh place in the last four years

Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
Sunday 3 March, 17:00 local time, live on

  • PSG have already claimed first place in the group and are qualified for the quarter-finals. This is the third time in the last four seasons the French side have achieved this position

  • Zaporozhye are currently fifth in the group. A draw would be enough for them to secure their position

  • In the first leg of the confrontation, Paris won 35:29 in Ukraine

  • Zaporozhye’s Barys Pukhouski is currently the Champions League’s second top scorer with 75 goals

  • Four PSG players have passed the 60-goal mark this season: Mikkel Hansen (63), Uwe Gensheimer, Nedim Remili (both 61) and Sander Sagosen (60)

MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Sunday 3 March, 17:00 local time, live on

  • Szeged have secured second spot in the group. This is their best ranking ever since the introduction of the new format of the VELUX EHF Champions League

  • Zagreb have already booked their ticket for the Last 16, for the first time since 2017. But they still have to determine whether they will finish fifth or sixth

  • A win for Zagreb combined with a loss for Zaporozhye would mean the Croatian side finish fifth. Any other Zaporozhye result would leave Zagreb in sixth position

  • In the first leg of the confrontation, Szeged won narrowly in Zagreb, 24:23

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg