02.03.2018 15:31

Race for the Last 16 - what happens if?

104 of 112 matches have been played in VELUX EHF Champions League Groups A and B and there are still some major decisions to be made.

Vardar and Nates fight for the top position in Group A, three teams are in the race for the final spot in the Last 16 and three powerhouses of European handball vie for second place in Group B.

GROUP A

Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) vs HBC Nantes (FRA)
Saturday 3 March, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

HC Vardar (MKD) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)
Sunday 4 March, 17:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (CRO) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE)
Sunday 4 March, 17:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP) vs MOL-Pick Szeged (HUN)
Sunday 4 March, 19:15 local time, live on ehfTV.com

What is already decided?
- Rhein-Neckar Löwen will definitely finish fourth
- Szeged will definitely finish fifth

Winner of Group A
Vardar (20 points) are one ahead of HBC Nantes (19) and two ahead of FC Barcelona (18) - and hold head-to-head advantages over both sides. If all three teams end up on 20 points, the internal ranking is level with four points each, but Vardar would finish on top thanks to the better goal difference (+5) ahead of Barcelona (0) and Nantes (-5). This means, Barcelona cannot finish top anymore.

Vardar will finish on top
- If they beat or draw with Plock
- Regardless their own result, If Nantes do not win at Rhein Neckar Löwen

Nantes will finish on top
-
If they win at Löwen and Vardar lose against Plock

The final Last 16 spot
Plock, Zagreb and Kristianstad are all on six points - but this will definitely change as Zagreb face Kristianstad on Sunday. In the internal ranking between the three, Kristianstad have four points and a goal difference of +1, Plock have four points and +2, and Zagreb have two points and a -3 goal difference. Plock hold a better head-to-head record against Zagreb. Kristianstad lead Plock in their head-to-head record and drew with Zagreb in their first clash, but Zagreb have a better goal difference (-44:-64).

Kristianstad will make it to the Last16
- If they win at Zagreb
- If they draw with Zagreb and Plock draw at Skopje
- If they draw with Zagreb, score 29 goals or more and Plock lose at Skopje

Zagreb will make it to the Last 16
- If they beat Kristianstad and Plock do not win at Skopje
- If they tie with Kristianstad, Kristianstad score fewer than 29 goals and Plock lose at Skopje

Plock will make it to the Last 16
- If they win and Zagreb win
- If they win and Zagreb draw with Kristianstad

GROUP B

PGE Vive Kielce (POL) vs HC Meshkov Brest (BLR)
Saturday 3 March, 16:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Telekom Veszprém HC (HUN) vs RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO)
Saturday 3 March, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Aalborg Handbold (DEN) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Sunday 4 March, 16:50 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Sunday 4 March, 19:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

What is already decided?
- PSG are confirmed group winners
- Brest will definitely finish sixth
- Aalborg and Celje are out of the race for the Last 16

The battle for the second position:
Veszprém and Flensburg are level on 16 points, Kiel are one point below. Veszprém won the head-to-head against Flensburg, while Kiel have won the head-to-head encounters against Flensburg and Veszprém (due to scoring more away goals in their encounters). In the internal ranking of all three Kiel would be ahead (five points, +3 goal difference), followed by Veszprém (five points, +1) and Flensburg (two points).

The worst case scenario for Kiel would be a defeat at Paris and a Kielce victory against Brest, as then THW would finish fifth, facing Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the Last 16 for the second year in a row, and Kielce will finish fourth, setting up a Last 16 clash against Szeged. The second ranked team will face the winner of the C/D playoff between Skjern and Zaporozhye in the Last 16, the third ranked will face the sixth placed team of Group A.

Veszprém will finish second
- If they win against Celje
- If they tie with Celje and Flensburg and Kiel do not win
- If they lose against Celje and Flensburg and Kiel lose

Flensburg will finish second
- If they win at Aalborg and Veszprém do not win against Celje
- If they draw with Aalborg, Veszprem lose against Celje and Kiel do not win in Paris

Kiel will finish second
- If they win at Paris and Veszprém and Flensburg do not win
- If they draw with Paris and both Veszprém and Flensburg lose

Author: Björn Pazen / cor