Two debutants, a new goal record and a semi-final repeat
The VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 ended last weekend with no team making up a defeat from the first leg. Now, eight times 60 minutes are ahead of us before we know the four VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants of the 2017/18 season.
After the completion of the Last 16, here are the most important Facts and Figures of the competition, which will continue with following quarter-finals later in April:
THW Kiel vs HC Vardar, PGE Vive Kielce vs Paris Saint-Germain, SG Flensburg-Handewitt vs Montpellier HB, HBC Nantes vs Skjern Håndbold
0 teams which lost the first leg of the Last 16 made it to the quarter-finals. Last year, one of six teams achieved this feat.
0 teams have successfully defended their title in Cologne since the implementation of the FINAL4 in 2010. In contrast to last season (Kielce), the defending champions are still in the race this time: HC Vardar.
0 Hungarian teams in the quarter-finals last happened in 2011/12.
1 time - this season - since the implementation of the FINAL4 in 2009/10, the quarter-finals do not include any team from Spain.
1 FINAL4 debutant will make it to Cologne: either Nantes or Skjern.
1 quarter-final is a repeat of a former semi-final: Kielce vs Paris. In 2016, Kielce won and went on to lift the trophy.
1 of the 12 Last 16 matches ended in a draw: Nantes vs Brest 28:28.
1 goal was the smallest aggregate margin in the Last 16: Montpellier vs Barcelona 56:55.
1 quarter-finalist was involved in the only-ever penalty shootout in a quarter-final: Montpellier, which beat Chekhovskie Medvedi of Russia in 2009/10.
1 club have teams in both the men’s and women’s Champions League Quarter-finals: Vardar Skopje.
1 player only has successfully defended the trophy since 2010 - and can still make it three times in a row: Ivan Cupic (Kielce 2016, Vardar 2017).
2 of last season’s FINAL4 participants are already out: Barcelona and Veszprém.
2 (all) runners-up of Groups A and B have been eliminated in the Last 16: again Barcelona and Veszprém.
2 teams - Nantes and Skjern - are debutants in the quarter-finals.
2 teams - Flensburg and Kielce - have won both legs of the Last 16.
2 (all) winners of the C/D play-offs are part of the quarter-finals for the first time ever: Skjern and Montpellier.
2 of the 12 Last 16 matches included more than 60 goals: Veszprém vs Skjern (34:29) and Löwen vs Kielce (30:36).
2 teams - Vardar Skopje from Group A and Paris Saint-Germain from Group B - qualified directly for the quarter-finals.
3 times Kiel have eliminated Szeged in a Champions League knock-out stage, also in the quarter-finals of 2014/15 and the Last 16 of 2015/16.
3 French teams are in the quarter-finals, for the first time ever. And they all can make it to Cologne as they do not face each other.
3 former FINAL4 participants were eliminated in the Last 16: two-time champions Barcelona, two-time finalists Veszprém and Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
3 times (which is every time) Kielce have made it to the quarter-finals, they have advanced to the FINAL4.
3 times in a row Brest have lost in the Last 16.
3 times there were 70 or more goals scored in a single match in the group phase but none in the Last 16.
4 times in a row Rhein-Neckar Löwen have been eliminated in the Last 16, by Szeged, Zagreb, Kiel, Kielce.
4 former or current top scorers of the Champions League have made it to the quarter-finals: Uwe Gensheimer (2016/17 - 115 goals for PSG, 2010/11 - 118 goals for Rhein Neckar Löwen, now PSG), Mikkel Hansen (2011/12 - 98 goals for AG Kobenhavn, 2015/16 - 141 goals for PSG, now PSG), Kiril Lazarov (2007/08 - 96 goals and 2005/06 - 85 goals for Veszprém, now Nantes), Nikola Karabatic (2006/07 - 89 goals for Kiel, now PSG).
5 of the eight quarter-finalists have played at the FINAL4 (since 2010) at least once: Kiel (six participations, two trophies), Kielce (three, one), Vardar, Flensburg (one, one each) and Paris (two, none).
5 coaches still involved in the competition have won the Champions League at least once: Talant Dujshebaev (Kielce / four times), Alfred Gislason (Kiel/four), Patrice Canayer (Montpellier), Noka Serdarusic (PSG/with Kiel) and Raul Gonzalez (Vardar).
5 different nations are represented in the quarter-finals: France (three), Germany (two), Denmark, FYR Macedonia and Poland (one each). Last year, there were also five nations: France had two teams while Hungary (two teams) and Spain have been replaced by Denmark and Poland.
5 of last season’s eight quarter-finalists are back at this stage: finalists Vardar and Paris, also Kiel, Flensburg and Montpellier.
5 former or current champions - with seven titles in total - have a chance to win the trophy again: THW Kiel (3), Vardar Skopje, Kielce, Flensburg and Montpellier (each 1).
6 years ago was the previous time Denmark had a team in the quarterfinals, AG København. This time Skjern have made it to the quarter-finals.
7 former or current IHF World Handball Players of the Year are still in competition: Nikola Karabatic (2007, 2014, 2016/PSG), Mikkel Hansen (2011, 2015/PSG), Domagoj Duvnjak (2014/Kiel), Daniel Narcisse (2012/PSG), Slawomir Szmal (2009/Kielce) Thierry Omeyer (2008/PSG) and Arpad Sterbik (2005/Vardar).
8 of the 12 Last 16 matches were won by the home teams.
8 times (which is every time) the LANXESS Arena in Cologne has been sold out for the FINAL4.
9 years ago was the previous time Barcelona missed the quarter-finals.
10 of 188 matches since the start of the group phase ended with a difference of 10 or more goals, one in the Last 16: Kielce vs Löwen 41:17.
12 more matches have to be played before the trophy of the 25th anniversary Champions League season will be lifted on 27 May: eight quarter-finals, two semi-finals, one placement match 3/4, and the final.
14 times in a row (since 2004/05) THW Kiel have qualified for the quarter-finals.
19 matches since the start of the group phase have ended in a draw.
19 times, including this season, Kiel have qualified for the quarter-finals. Flensburg qualified 11 times, Montpellier eight, Vardar and PSG five each, Kielce four, Skjern and Nantes one each.
24 goals has been the highest winning margin this season: Kielce vs Löwen (41:17).
28 consecutive Champions League matches on home court have Paris remained unbeaten since their 27:25 defeat to Kiel in November 2014.
30 goals (at Kielce vs Löwen) is the biggest aggregate difference ever in a Champions League knockout pairing.
40 matches since the start of the group phase - including five in the Last 16 - have been attended by 5,000 or more fans.
47 times, 60 or more goals have been scored in a match since the start of the group phase.
48 was the lowest number of goals scored in a Last 16 match: Kristianstad vs Flensburg (22:26). But 39 remain the lowest number for the season: Montpellier vs Leon (20:19) in the play-offs.
53 goals in two legs were enough for Flensburg to make it to the quarter-finals.
56.34 goals have been scored in average during all 192 matches this season.
60 matches since the start of the group phase have been won by the away teams.
66 was the highest number of goals scored in a Last 16 match: Löwen vs Kielce (30:36). So 72 remains the highest number for the season: Löwen vs Szeged (35:37) and Elverum vs Bucuresti (40:32).
77 goals by Kielce in two Last 16 matches is a new record. The previous best mark of 72 was set by Kiel against Kolding in 2010/11.
83 goals have been scored by Andy Schmid (Rhein-Neckar Löwen). The best scorers still in the competition are second-ranked Uwe Gensheimer (PSG/80), who was top scorer last season, and Marcus Olsson (Skjern/78).
106 matches since the start of the group phase were won by the home teams.
672 goals have been scored in the Last 16, an average of 56 goals per match. Last season, 633 goals (39 less) were scored.
8,500 fans was the highest attendance in the Last 16: Kiel vs Szeged.
10,818 goals have been scored so far this season: 235 in the qualification tournament; 9,911 in the group phase including play-offs; and 672 in the Last 16. Last season 10,440 goals were scored in group phase and Last 16 compared to 10,583 this time.
55,396 spectators attended the 12 Last 16 matches, an average of 4,616.
74,983 fans have attended the eight home matches of Kiel so far, an average of 9,372.
Top 3 rankings after the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16
72 - Rhein-Neckar Löwen vs Szeged 35:37 (GP)
72 - Elverum vs Bucuresti 40:32 (GP)
70 - Celje vs Veszprém 31:39 (GP)
66 - Löwen vs Kielce 30:36 (L16)
39 - Montpellier vs Leon 20:19 (GP)
40 - Kiel vs Flensburg 20:20 (GP)
42 - Löwen vs Vardar 21:21 (GP), Kiel vs Veszprém 22:20 (GP)
48 - Kristianstad vs Flensburg 22:26 (L16)
Biggest winning margin:
24 goals - Kielce vs Löwen 41:17 (L16)
16 goals - Vardar vs Kristianstad 31:15 (GP)
15 goals - Skjern vs Velenje 35:20 (GP)
83 goals - Andy Schmid (Löwen)
80 goals - Uwe Gensheimer (PSG)
78 goals - Marcus Olsson (Skjern)
Top scorers still in competition:
80 goals - Uwe Gensheimer (PSG)
78 goals - Marcus Olsson (Skjern)
66 goals - Eduardo Gurbindo (Nantes)