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27 days ago - 10/17/2019

PSG’s perfect streak put to test in Barcelona

Only one team from VELUX EHF Champions League groups A/B has gained the maximum of eight points after four rounds. PSG Handball will try to keep their winning streak alive in Barcelona, but will have to do without three injured key players.

At the bottom of the group A table, Celje or Elverum will finally earn their first points as both teams meet for a match that will be crucial to maintain realistic hopes of reaching the Last 16. Zagreb, the thirs team still on zero points, host Szeged.

In group B, the Match of the Week features two in-form teams: Kiel are having their best start of the season in nine years, while Montpellier won their last three games despite a plethora of injuries.

In Veszprém, the Hungarian powerhouse is trying to get their season back on track against title-holders Vardar in a rematch of last year’s final.

GROUP A

Barça (ESP) vs Paris Saint-Germain HB (FRA)
Saturday 19 October, 20:00 CET local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • This is only the fifth time both teams meet in the CL: Barça won three times, including both home matches; PSG once

  • PSG are without Henrik Toft Hansen and Mikkel Hansen (both concussion) while Sander Sagosen returned from a hamstring injury Wednesday but is not yet 100% fit

  • PSGs are undefeated in all competitions this season; Barça have lost once - in Szeged in the first round of the CL

  • The PSG squad includes five players with a Barça past: Viran Morros, Kamil Syprzak, Nikola Karabatic, Rodrigo Corrales and Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday 20 October, 16:50 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • With 300 kilometres separating the two cities, this is the second closest derby in group A, after Celje vs Zagreb

  • Aalborg suffered their first loss last weekend while Flensburg are still undefeated, with one draw, after four matches

  • Flensburg won all four previous CL matches against Aalborg, most recently in 2018

  • Aalborg are currently top of the Danish league while Flensburg are second in the Bundesliga

HC PPD Zagreb (CRO) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Sunday 20 October, 17:00 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Szeged’s Bogdan Radivojevic is the best scorer in the CL so far with 29 goals

  • Zagreb have scored the fewest goals of all CL teams, 85

  • Szeged lead the head-to-head stats with seven wins from 14 matches; four matches ended in a draw, including the last one in March

RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs Elverum Handball (NOR)
Sunday 20 October, 17:00 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Celje (91) and Elverum (89) are two of the lowest scoring sides so far in the CL

  • Both teams are currently tied at the bottom of group A without points

  • this will be the first time Celje and Elverum meet in European competition

  • after their loss to PSG last week, Celje coach Tomas Ocvirk called the Elverum match “very important for the race to the Last 16”

GROUP B

MOTW: Montpellier HB (FRA) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Saturday 19 October, 17:15 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • with three wins and a draw, Kiel are having their best start in a CL season since 2010/11

  • Montpellier’s Jonas Truchanovicius, Diego Simonet and Gilberto Duarte are all back in training after injuries

  • the French side will miss Melvyn Richardson, who is set to return in December after breaking his finger

  • Kiel (129) have the second-best attack in the competition, behind Barça (142)

  • Montpellier have conceded the fewest goals (103) in the group, one less than Kiel

  • Kiel won five of their six previous matches but have not faced Montpellier since 2011

FC Porto Sofarma (POR) vs HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
Saturday 19 October, 15:30 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Porto won both home games this season: 27:25 against Brest and 33:30 against Kielce

  • Motor are on a seven-game winless streak, dating back to February

  • Motor are already three points behind the sixth place, which secures a berth for the Last 16

  • the two teams have not met each other before in the CL

HC Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs PGE Vive Kielce (POL)
Saturday 19 October, 18:00 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • ending a six-game winless streak against Motor last weekend, Brest now eye their second win in a row

  • Kielce started with a win and a draw, but lost the last two games, against Porto and Montpellier

  • playmaker Igor Karacic is doubtful for Kielce due to a chest injury

  • Kielce won seven of their eight previous encounters, as their only loss came in Brest in the 2017/18 season

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs HC Vardar (MKD)
Saturday 19 October, 17:30 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • rematch of last season’s CL final, which Vardar won 27:24

  • Veszprém stopped a two-game losing skid last week at home against Porto (38:28)

  • a Vardar player from 2016-19, Vuko Borozan will face his former teammates after already scoring eight times for Veszprém this season

  • Veszprém’s Dejan Manaskov and Arpad Sterbik also played for Vardar in the past; Sterbik won the CL with them in 2017

  • after three wins in a row, Vardar lost against Kiel (31:20) last week as the German side leapfrogged them in the standings

  • Veszprém lead the head-to-head stats with six wins from nine matches, opposed to Vardar’s two; one game ended in a draw

Author: Kevin Domas, Adrian Costeiu / ew