Montpellier and Kielce meet in high-profile Match of the WeekArticle
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GROUP A/B PREVIEW: It is crunch time in the VELUX EHF Champions League, with the first places in each group at stake in this weekend’s games
»2019-20 Men's News

Montpellier and Kielce meet in high-profile Match of the Week

After a six-week pause, the VELUX EHF Champions League is back in full force this weekend.

In group A, the race for first place and a direct ticket for the quarter-finals is open, with Barça, MOL-Pick Szeged and Paris Saint-Germain HB the main contenders to finish top of the group. At the other end of the table, Elverum Handball and HC PPD Zagreb must take points now in order to avoid elimination. 

The situation is even tenser in group B, where THW Kiel lead the group but Telekom Veszprém HC, PGE VIVE Kielce, Montpellier HB and FC Porto Sofarma all have a chance to catch up. The Match of the Week clash between Kielce and Montpellier on Saturday will be the highlight of the weekend.

MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) vs Aalborg Handbold (DEN)
Saturday 8 February, 18:00 CET, live on

  • Szeged were the first team to beat Aalborg in the Champions League this season. The Hungarian side won 35:28 in Denmark in round 4

  • it was announced last month that Szeged back Jorge Maqueda, who won the EHF EURO 2020 with Spain, would join Telekom Veszprém next season

  • Szeged have won the two Hungarian league games played since the EURO, while Aalborg drew in the Danish league on Wednesday

  • Szeged have the best defensive record of group A after 10 rounds, with 251 goals taken. On the other end of the spectrum, Aalborg are the least effective, with 311 goals conceded

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Saturday 8 February, 18:00 CET, live on

  • in the first leg, Flensburg won at home 20:17 – the group’s lowest scoring match of the season so far

  • Zagreb signed 21-year-old line player Nikola Grahovac this winter, while Flensburg drafted former Frisch Auf Göppingen left hander Jens Schöngarth to make up for Holger Glandorf’s injury

  • five Zagreb players took part in the EHF EURO 2020 final in Stockholm two weeks ago: Matej Asanin, Matej Hrstic, Zlatko Horvat, David Mandic and Marin Sipic

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Sunday 9 February, 17:00 CET, live on

  • it has been 23 years since RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko beat Paris in the Champions League

  • the French side easily won the first leg at home, 27:18

  • two PSG players were crowned European champions at the EHF EURO in January: Rodrigo Corrales and Viran Morros

  • Celje could almost secure a Last 16 ticket this weekend, if they beat Paris and Elverum and Zagreb lose their games

Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Barça (ESP)
Sunday 9 February, 19:00 CET, live on

  • with 356 goals scored, Barça have the most effective offence of the whole Champions League. Wing Aleix Gomez has netted 54 times

  • the Spanish side won the first leg of the confrontation at home, 33:24

  • Elverum resumed their Norwegian league campaign with a 32:27 win against Kolstad, while Barça took a victory in Anaitasuna on Wednesday, 39:18

  • iconic right wing Victor Tomas announced this week that he would retire at the end of the season, after 18 years playing for Barcelona


MOTW: Montpellier HB (FRA) vs PGE VIVE Kielce (POL)
Saturday 8 February, 17:15 CET, live on

  • this will be the third Match of the Week featuring Montpellier this season. In the previous two, they lost their home game against Kiel 30:33 and drew the away clash against Porto 23:23

  • Kielce have also played the Match of the Week twice: they drew against Kiel, 30:30, and won against Vardar, 35:25

  • the Polish side have four Spanish players who won the gold medal at the EHF EURO 2020 in their roster: Julen Aguinagalde, Angel Fernandez, Alex Dujshebaev and Daniel Dujshebaev

  • Kielce are third in the group, with 12 points – two less than second-placed Veszprém. Kielce hold a one-point advantage over Montpellier, with four rounds to go

  • Montpellier won the mutual clash in October, 29:27, and count a total of five wins in nine games against the Polish powerhouse

  • Kielce enjoyed a comfortable 29:20 win against domestic league rivals Wisla Plock on Tuesday, while Montpellier lost against Ivry in the French League, 30:25, and fell to fourth place in the standings

FC Porto Sofarma (POR) vs Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN)
Saturday 8 February, 16:00 CET, live on

  • Veszprém are in a must-win situation if they are to challenge Kiel for first place in the group. They are currently second, with 14 points – four less than the German side, but with a game in hand

  • Porto boast nine players from the Portuguese national team that was the surprise of the EHF EURO 2020 and finished sixth

  • the Hungarian side announced this week that Spanish Jorge Maqueda, the All-star right back of the EHF EURO 2020, and Russian right wing Daniil Shishkarev will join from next summer, while defender Mirza Terzic and left back Borut Mackovsek will leave

  • coach David Davis’ side won against Tatabanya in the quarter-finals of the Hungarian Cup on Monday, 26:16, but lost goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik due to an injury

  • Veszprém enjoyed a thorough victory against Porto in their mutual game in October. The Hungarian side are currently riding a four-game winning streak

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Sunday 9 February, 17:00 CET, live on

  • the game is crucial for both teams, as they are tied on points (four) and sit in seventh and eighth places. They are both five points behind Vardar, in sixth

  • Motor have won only one match from their five played on the home court this Champions League season: 33:29, against Porto, to end 2019 on a high

  • right back Dener Jaanimaa and left back Stanislav Zhukov, who combined for 34 goals in the premium European competition this season, left Motor and signed with Spartak Moscow one week ago

  • Brest are on a 12-game losing streak in away games in the VELUX EHF Champions League

  • the only mutual game between the sides came this season, in October, when Meshkov won 33:31

TEXT: Kevin Domas / Adrian Costeiu / cg