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18.02.2011, 13:10◄ last page     

Preview of all matches from Round 8 of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League.

Up to eight more teams can qualify for the Last 16

Five participants of the Last 16 in the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League are already known – and this weekend can become decisive. Up to eight more teams have the chance to book their ticket to the knock-out stage in Round eight, six of them only need one more point in their upcoming matches.

Group A

Chambery Savoie (FRA) vs. THW Kiel (GER)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 18:00 hrs (local time)

On the papers reigning champion THW Kiel are the favourites in this match, also because of their 35:23 victory in the first encounter in Kiel.

But the French runners-up are extremely strong on home court – so far they have won all matches in Albertville including the sensational victory against Barcelona.

If this series would continue, Chambery would be very close to the Last 16 with eight points then. Kiel (still missing Kim Andersson) only need one point to book their ticket for the knock-out stage.

HC Pivovarna Lasko Celje (SLO) vs. Vive Targi Kielce (POL)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 18:00 hrs (local time)

Both teams are equal in points and for both it is the last chance to keep the hopes alive for the Last 16. But the base is quite different as several players left Celje in the winter break.

Kielce lost the first encounter on home soil 30:36, but since then they have improved. Still they only have one victory (against Chambery) on their account.

If the Poles take both points and Chambery lose against Kiel, both are equal for the last two Rounds. Uros Zorman, who transferred from Celje to Kielce, will not be able to play for his new club due to EHF Regulations.

The VELUX EHF Men's Champions League game of Group Phase, Round 8, HC Pivovarna Lasko Celje (SLO) vs. Vive Targi Kielce (POL) on Saturday 19 February 2011 at 18:00 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.

Rhein Neckar Löwen (GER) vs. FC Barcelona-Borges (ESP)
Sunday 20 February 2011, 15:30 hrs (local time)

It was the first match of new Löwen coach Gundmundur Gudmundssson, and it was one of the biggest surprises in the current season of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League.

Löwen took the victory (31:30) in the opening match in Barcelona, and now the Germans are eager to also win the second duel which would mean the qualification for the Last 16.

Even one point is enough for the Löwen, which announced two future newcomers: Danish goalkeeper Niklas Landin will come to the Germans in 2012 from Silkeborg, Icelandic international Alexander Pettersson will arrive after this season from Füchse Berlin.

Group B

MKB Veszprem (HUN) vs. Tatran Presov (SLK)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 19:15 hrs (local time)

Both teams know each other well as Presov also participate in the Hungarian League as a “guest team”. While Veszprem are already qualified for the Last 16 with six victories, Presov is out of the race and still waiting for their first victory.

Up to now the Slovaks only managed one tie against Hamburg. Especially on home ground Veszprem is the great favourite thanks to their frenetic crowd – and the Hungarians also won the first duel in Presov clearly 35:27.

As Veszprem have two hard matches in Kolding and Montpellier ahead – a victory against Presov could be highly important for remaining on top of the ranking until the end.

KIF Kolding (DEN) vs. IK Sävehof (SWE)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 16:15 hrs (local time)

One point is enough for Kolding to qualify for the Last 16, two points might give a chance to improve their position in the ranking.

On the other side Sävehof need three victories in the last three matches to keep hopes for the knock-out stage alive. The Swedes also have to hope that Kolding do not collect any more points, as the Danes are six points ahead of the Gothenbug team.

KIF keeps on building their future team, as they managed to sign national team player Lasse Boesen from SG Flensburg-Handewitt from next season on.

HSV Hamburg (GER) vs. Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA)
Sunday 20 February 2011, 17:00 hrs (local time)

The Gille brothers meet their mates from the national team, but Guillaume Gille will miss the game due to an injury. Both teams have already booked their tickets for the Last 16, but this match will be crucial for the final ranking in this group.

Currently Montpellier is ahead of HSV with one point, despite having lost the first encounter on home ground 26:30. Mentally pushed by the World Championship title, Montpellier is eager to kick back in Hamburg.

Except the injured Adrien di Panda, coach Patrice Canayer can count on his top staff including the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 World Championship, Nikola Karabatic.

Hamburg just celebrated their 20th straight victory in the German League, where they still lead, four points ahead of Kiel.

Group C

Kadetten Schaffhausen (SUI) – Pick Szeged (HUN)
aturday 19 February 2011, 16:00 hrs (local time)

How will Kadetten cope with the clear home defeat against Minsk? Last week the Swiss champions missed the match ball to make a great step towards the next stage.

Now they have to face stronger opponents, but can still hope with currently five points on their account. Playing against the two group favourites Chekhovskie and Valladolid in the final two Rounds, Kadetten urgently need points against Szeged.

But for the Hungarians this match is a great opportunity to qualify for the Last 16. If they win, and Minsk and AaB do not win their games, Pick is through.

The Hungarians won the first game 29:26, but have up to now only taken one away victory– surprisingly in Chekhov.

Cuatro Rayas Valladolid (ESP) vs. Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 18:00 hrs (local time)

After their first ever CL away victory in their club history in Winterthur, Dinamo hope for the next surprise in Spain.

But the Belarusians are the underdogs in Valladolid. The Spaniards are unbeaten on home ground and need only one more point to qualify for the Last 16.

And as they are ambitious and will try everything to reach first place in the final ranking, one point against Minsk would probably not be enough. Valladolid won the first duel 35:30 in Minsk.

AaB Handball (DEN) vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS)
Sunday 20 February 2011, 16:50 hrs (local time)

With two home games and the most probably decisive match in Minsk, Aalborg still have the qualification for the Last 16 in their hands.

The fact that the Danes currently are only ranked sixth in this group does not matter in that case. But they need a big surprise against the favoured team from Russia to enlarge their base of points.

Chekhov are already through with eleven points and rank one point ahead of Valladolid. The Russians won the first encounter with a clear 39:29 on home ground.

Aalborg currently is looking for a new coach as Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen announced that he will resign after this season.

The VELUX EHF Men's Champions League game of Group Phase, Round 8, AaB Handball (DEN) vs. Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) on Sunday 20 February 2011 at 16:50 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com as our featured "Match of the Week", including English commentary of Tom O’Brannagain.

Group D

Bosna Sarajevo (BIH) vs. HC St. Petersburg (RUS)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 19:00 hrs (local time)

If Bosna want to make a small miracle come true, they must absolutely win this game. The team from Sarajevo currently has only one single point on their account (after drawing against Zagreb).

The Russians beat Bosna in their first ever match in the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League 32:27 – and they showed a strong performance in Ciudad Real despite the defeat in the postponed game last week.

If St. Petersburg (4 points) win they can leave Constanta behind, but keeping in mind that that tough challenges against Flensburg and Zagreb await the Russians.

HC Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. HCM Constanta (ROU)
Saturday 19 February 2011, 17:30 hrs (local time)

International debut for Ivica Obrvan: The successor of Nenad Klajic as coach of RK Zagreb has the objective not only to qualify for the Last 16, he wants to finish second in this group.

Currently being levelled with Flensburg (10 points) the Croats have fate in their hands but need to take points against Constanta.

The Romanians on the other hand can earn some extra points for their race to the knock-out stage, although they lost the first encounter against Zagreb clearly 23:33 on home turf.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs. Renovalia Ciudad Real (ESP)
Sunday 20 February 2011, 18:45 hrs (local time)

The “Revenge of the semi-final of the World Championship in Sweden”: Nine Spanish national team players from Ciudad Real meet five Danish ones from SG Flensburg.

In Sweden, Denmark won the game and qualified for the final, in Flensburg the German club hope to cause the first defeat to Ciudad Real in this competition.

But Flensburg will have to replace two of their key players: Oscar Carlen suffers from a rupture of the crucial ligament and will miss the rest of the season of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League, and Michael Knudsen was injured in Sweden with another knee injury.

On the other hand Ciudad Real is still searching for their usual rhythm after the World Championship. In a postponed match the three times title holder had enormous problems in beating St. Petersburg on home ground.

The situation is clear: If Flensburg take at least one point, they are through to the Last 16, by winning they would rank only one point below Ciudad Real.

The VELUX EHF Men's Champions League game of Group Phase, Round 8, SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs. Renovalia Ciudad Real (ESP) on Sunday 20 February 2011 at 18:45 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.

TEXT: Björn Pazen

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