Kiel eye best start since 2008; Vardar and Kielce clash for second placeArticle
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GROUP A/B PREVIEW: Kiel aim to continue unbeaten when they take on Porto in the last round 7 match for group A, while in group B, Meshkov host Veszprém in the Match of the Week, and Vardar and Kielce battle for crucial points
»2019-20 Men's News

Kiel eye best start since 2008; Vardar and Kielce clash for second place

Barça and MOL-Pick Szeged cannot afford missteps after Paris Saint-Germain won against Flensburg on Wednesday, as the three-pronged battle for first place in VELUX EHF Champions League group A is still very much on after six rounds.

Meanwhile, in group B, THW Kiel can record their best start in 12 seasons if they win against FC Porto Sofarma, while the battle for second place features a fiery clash between HC Vardar and PGE VIVE Kielce, as both sides take the court after important wins last week.

Also in group B, HC Meshkov Brest host the Match of the Week against Telekom Veszprem HC in what could prove to be one of their last chances of keeping the multi-season streak of achieving a Last 16 place alive.

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs Barça (ESP)
Sunday 10 November, 16:50 CET, live on

  • The teams have played against each other four times, and Barça won all encounters. The Spanish side were even responsible for Aalborg’s biggest ever Champions League defeat in 2015 (11:31)

  • After six rounds, Barça have by far the most effective offence of the competition, with 212 goals scored – more than 35 goals per match. In comparison, Aalborg have netted 176 times

  • With six players having scored 20 or more, Barcelona have the highest density of scorers in the whole Champions League. But the best of them, Aitor Arino, is only ranked joint-33rd in the competition

  • Victor Tomas needs six goals to reach the 700-goal mark in the Champions League

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)
Sunday 10 November, 17:00 CET, live on

  • With roughly 100 kilometers between the two cities, this is the closest it comes to a derby in this group

  • Celje and Zagreb have played against each other 20 times in Champions League history, including once in the semi-final (in 1998). Zagreb won 11 times, Celje eight, and one game ended in a draw

  • These two teams are among the least prolific offences of the Champions League after six rounds. Zagreb have scored 136 goals, making them the least efficient, while Celje netted 147 times

MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Elverum Handball (NOR)
Sunday 10 November, 17:00 CET, live on

  • This is the first time these teams will meet in the Champions League

  • Elverum earned their first point of the season last weekend, drawing at home against Zagreb

  • Szeged have not lost a home game in the Champions League since December 2017. This could be their 15th undefeated home match in a row in the competition

MOTW: HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs Telekom Veszprem HC (HUN)
Saturday 9 November, 17:30 CET, live on

  • Brest hosted the Match of the Week twice last season, winning both times – 26:23 against Montpellier and 32:23 against Kristianstad

  • The Belarusian side, who have secured Last 16 berths for the past four seasons, are already four points behind sixth place, as they won only once in the first six rounds

  • The Hungarian champions lost both away games this season, against Montpellier and Kielce, and are fifth in the standings – two points behind second-placed Vardar

  • Veszprem will miss playmaker Mate Lekai, who injured his ACL in the loss against Kielce last round and will not play anymore in 2019

  • The two sides have met four times in the past two seasons, with Veszprem winning all four games by an average of six goals 

HC Vardar (MKD) vs PGE Vive Kielce (POL)
Saturday 9 November, 17:30 CET, live on

  • Vardar ended a two-game losing streak last round, and climbed up to second place in the standings

  • Kielce are third, with seven points. The game could therefore prove pivotal for the two teams’ chances for first place in the group

  • Croatian playmaker Igor Karacic will face Vardar for the first time since leaving the club after six successful seasons this summer, during which he won the top European competition twice

  • Vardar and Kielce have met in the VELUX EHF Champions League in four of the past five seasons, with the Polish side taking five wins, as opposed to Vardar’s three

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs Montpellier HB (FRA)
Sunday 10 November, 17:00 CET, live on

  • Motor are the only team in the group to so far fail to earn a win this season, thereby placing last after six rounds, with one point

  • Amongst the 28 teams in the competition, the Ukrainian side have conceded the highest number of goals in 2019/20 – 202, or an average of 33.6 per game

  • On the other side, Montpellier have scored the lowest number of goals in the group – 163, one less than Brest

  • The French team’s injury woes have eased, but they still miss sharpshooter Melvyn Richardson, who has an arm injury 

  • The sides have met four times in the past, with Montpellier taking two wins, Motor one, and the other ending in a stalemate

THW Kiel (GER) vs FC Porto Sofarma (POR)
Sunday 10 November, 19:00 CET, live on

  • With a win, Kiel can secure their best start in the VELUX EHF Champions League since the 2007/08 season, when they enjoyed a seven-game winning streak

  • Porto have won only once in the past five away games played in the top European competition

  • The German side will reach 190 wins in the competition if they defeat Porto on Sunday. In the history of the Champions League, only Barça and Veszprem have hit that mark 

  • Kiel won three of their four mutual games versus Porto, with their last encounter taking place in the 2013/14 season

TEXT: Kevin Domas / Adrian Costeiu / cg