Key battles in hunt for knockout round placesArticle
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GROUP C/D PREVIEW: Three of Saturday’s four matches will have a direct impact on the race for the two remaining knockout round places in groups C and D

Key battles in hunt for knockout round places 

The penultimate round for groups C and D in the VELUX EHF Champions League looks set to be full of drama, as the battle to claim the final two knockout round places intensifies.

The top two teams in group C face off in Spain, as Bidasoa Irun welcome Sporting CP, while third-placed IK Sävehof will hope to recapture some of their early-season form against TATRAN Presov.

In group D, C.S. Dinamo Bucuresti are clear at the top, while Orlen Wisla Plock and GOG are now the only two teams who can still reach second place. Plock and GOG meet on Saturday in a direct duel for the last ticket to the elimination matches.

Bidasoa Irun (ESP) vs Sporting CP (POR)
Saturday 23 November, 16:00 CET, live on

  • Irun can secure first place in the group with a draw in this clash of the top two

  • the two sides played an entertaining 30:30 draw in October’s reverse fixture

  • victory for Sporting would keep them in position to face Dinamo Bucuresti in the knockout round, for the second year in a row

  • both sides won their midweek domestic matches – Irun 28:24 against Puerto Sagunto on Wednesday, Sporting 38:19 against Boavista on Tuesday

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs TATRAN Presov (SVK)
Saturday 23 November, 16:00 local time, live on

  • Sävehof’s stellar form has dropped in recent weeks, as the Swedish side lost three of their last four matches, though they remain just one point behind second-placed Sporting

  • before their heavy loss to Sporting last week, Presov were on a three-game unbeaten streak

  • Sävehof won the reverse fixture away from home, with a strong defensive and counter-attacking performance at the heart of their 28:23 success

  • Presov beat Topolcany 35:14 in the Slovakian league on Wednesday, while Sävehof drew 30:30 with Hallby

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs GOG (DEN) 
Saturday 23 October, 15:00 local time, live on

  • a win will send GOG to the elimination matches, while Plock need a victory of at least two goals to be absolutely sure

  • having scored only 220 goals, Plock have the least efficient attack in the group – but they also the strongest defensive record, having conceded only 212 goals

  • GOG have the second most effective attack in the group, with 255 goals, but also the second poorest defence, having allowed 260 goals

  • Plock won their latest national league game 28:22 at home against Zaglebie Lubin on Tuesday, while GOG lost 33:23 away against EHF Cup participants TTH Holstebro in the Danish league on Wednesday

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE) 
Sunday 24 November, 19:00 local time, live on

  • being fourth with six points, Schaffhausen can no longer reach the elimination matches, as Orlen Wisla Plock and GOG, who are both on nine, meet on Saturday

  • currently on five points, Kristianstad still have a chance to finish fourth in the group

  • Schaffhausen defeated HC Kriens-Luzern 32:23 in the quarter-final of the Swiss Cup on Wednesday; the same evening as Kristianstad won 31:23 at home against Varberg in the Swedish league

TEXT: Chris O'Reilly / Peter Bruun / cg