Trips to Barcelona, Zagreb and Flensburg on the cards in February
There's still the Christmas break and next month's EHF EURO to enjoy before we focus on the VELUX EHF Champions League again, but we already know which clashes have been given special Match of the Week status once the business end of the group phase takes place in February.
Saturday 10 February (time TBC) in Palau Blaugrana (Barcelona, Spain)
FC Barcelona Lassa vs HC Vardar
BITESIZE: Defending champions Vardar are on course to become the first side to return to Cologne a year after winning the VELUX EHF FINAL4, thanks to an unbeaten campaign so far.
Their exemplary record will be put to the test in Round 11 with a trip to Palau Blaugrana, a venue where hosts Barcelona always expect victory.
Vardar showed their dominance in a 27:24 win with some brilliant defence and goalkeeping from Arpad Sterbik when the sides met in Round 5 and Barcelona will be keen to avenge that defeat, as well as last season’s semi-final loss, to claim two vital points in the race for second place in Group A.
Saturday 17 February at 20:00 CET in Arena Zagreb ( Zagreb, Croatia)
HC PPD Zagreb vs HBC Nantes
BITESIZE: It took Zagreb until Round 10 to claim their first victory of the season, but what a victory to claim. Their 30:26 win over Rhein-Neckar Löwen has brought the Croatian side back into contention for a Last 16 spot and really kickstarted their campaign.
They welcome a Nantes team inspired by a brilliant run of form which has seen them make second place in Group A their own.
HBC Nantes claimed both points at the end of a thrilling Round 8 clash in November and if Zagreb can compensate for the recent departures of Stipe Mandalinic and Zarko Markovic, then we are in for another exciting affair.
Sunday 25 February at 17:00 CET in Flens Arena (Flensburg, Germany)
SG Flensburg-Handewitt vs Telekom Veszprém
BITESIZE: Ljubomir Vranjes returnes to Flensburg for the first time as Veszprém coach for a clash between two sides hunting PSG at the top of Group B.
Both sides have produced bright moments so far this season, but have also experienced unexpected defeats in the tough and unpredictable group.
Vranjes masterminded an impressive comeback to win 28:27 when the sides met back in Round 2 and will be determined to impress once again at the home of a club he spent 11 years at as a player and coach.
Author: EHF / cor