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PLAY-OFFS PREVIEW: While some teams might are just a step away from the quarter-finals, some play-off ties remain undecided

»EHF CL Channel »2020-21 Men's News

Like PSG and Barca, THW Kiel and Veszprém are the big favourites to progress from the play-offs after their clear away victories in the first leg.

It is a much tighter affair in Poland as Kielce hope to defend their narrow lead at home to Nantes. 

Hard-fought first legs mean Aalborg vs Porto and Brest vs Motor are too close to call as all four teams hunt their first trip to the quarter-finals.

MOTW: Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs FC Porto (POR)
Wednesday 7 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
First leg: 29:32

  • Porto won the first leg on home soil, 32:29
  • Aalborg won three of their six home games this season in the Champions League – defeating Zagreb, Nantes and HC Motor
  • on the other hand, Porto's only victory in six away games in the group phase was against Elverum (38:31)
  • Aalborg beat Holstebro 34:30 last weekend in the Danish league, while Porto had no game scheduled
  • the winner of this tie will play against Flensburg or Zagreb in the quarter-finals

THW Kiel (GER) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN) 
Wednesday 7 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
First leg: 33:28

  • Kiel's 33:28 victory in the first leg was not only a huge step towards the quarter-finals, but also their first win at Szeged since 2011
  • Kiel have eliminated Szeged in the knockout stage three times: in the 2014/15 quarter-finals and Last 16 in 2015/16 and 2017/18 
  • Kiel have won all four previous home matches against Szeged by at least seven goals – the overall head-to-read record is six victories for Kiel and three for Szeged
  • Szeged’s Joan Cañellas and new arrival Marko Vujin previously played for Kiel
  • both sides are ranked second in their domestic leagues; Kiel are one point below Flensburg in Germany, while Szeged are nine points below Veszprém in Hungary
  • the winners will face PSG or Celje in the quarter-finals

Lomza Vive Kielce (POR) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)
Wednesday 7 April, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
First leg: 25:24

  • with six goals, Alex Dujshebaev top-scored in the Polish side's precious 25:24 win in France in the first leg
  • in all competitions, only one team has won in Kielce this season: SG Flensburg Handewitt, who won 31:28 in the last round of the group phase
  • Nantes have won three and lost three away games in this season's Champions League
  • Nantes' game against Saint-Raphaël in the domestic league last weekend was postponed
  • Kielce had no domestic game scheduled last weekend

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs HC PPD Zagreb (CRO)

The matches have been called off. Further information can be found here. 

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs HC Vardar 1961 (MKD)
Thursday 8 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
First leg: 41:27

  • Veszprém’s 41:27 victory in the first leg at Skopje was the biggest win in the Last 16 since Kielce’s 41:17 victory against Rhein-Neckar Löwen in 2018
  • this result was also Veszprém's biggest victory against Vardar and their ninth win in 12 matches against the North Macedonian side
  • five current Veszprém players have previously played for Vardar: Vuko Borozan, Dejan Manaskov, Jorge Maqueda, Rogerio Moraes and Daniil Shishkarev
  • Vardar wings Timur Dibirov (64 goals) and Ivan Cupic (60 goals) are among the EHF Champions League Men's top 12 scorers, while Petar Nenadic (57 goals) is Veszprém’s top scorer
  • if no miracle occurs, after five years and two Champions League trophies, Croatian right wing Ivan Cupic will play his last European game in a Vardar shirt before he returns to Zagreb
  • Veszprém lead the Hungarian league after 18 victories and one draw
  • the winners of this duel will face Nantes or Kielce

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs HC Motor (UKR)
Thursday 8 April, 18:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
First leg: 30:32

  • the winners of this tie on Thursday will make history: they will clinch their first ever quarter-final berth in the EHF Champions League
  • Motor's 32:30 victory in Ukraine was their first against Meshkov in the EHF Champions League after two defeats
  • Meshkov only lost once at home in the group phase – against group winners Flensburg – but they beat teams such as PSG and Kielce
  • on the other hand, Motor proved their away strength with victories at Nantes, Celje and Zagreb
  • four Belarusian players in the Motor squad will play on home soil on Thursday: Maxim Babichev, Biachaslau Bokhan, Barys Pukhouski and goalkeeper Ivan Moroz
  • Bokhan (70 goals) is currently the third best scorer in the competition; Brest right wing Mikita Vailupau (67 goals) is ranked fourth
  • the aggregate winners will face Barcelona or Elverum in the quarter-finals

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO)
Thursday 8 April, 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV
First leg: 37:24

  • PSG's 37:24 win in the first leg was their biggest victory in an EHF Champions League knockout match
  • Dylan Nahi set a new personal record in the Champions League in that game, scoring 10 goals
  • in all competitions, only one team has beaten PSG at home this season: SG Flensburg-Handewitt, who won 29:28 in round 1 of the group phase
  • the French side easily won against Chambéry in their domestic game last weekend (34:23); Celje's league game was postponed
  • it was made official last week that Celje’s Matic Groselj will be playing in France next season, as he has signed a contract with Chartres

TEXT: Kevin Domas / Björn Pazen