Eurofarm Pelister have must-win match ahead, Veszprem can book quarter-final ticket

Eurofarm Pelister

Both SEHA - Gazprom League participants have away matches ahead in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League this week - while Telekom Veszprem travel for the top match of round 12 to SC Magdeburg, PPD Zagreb go westward to Portugal, facing FC Porto. In the EHF European League, Tatran Presov face a former Champions League winner, Nexe are the favourites in Hungary and Eurofarm Pelister urgently need two points against Aguas Santas.

Machineseeker EHF Champions League

After their surprising 36:37 home defeat against Danish side GOG, Telekom Veszprem are tested even tougher this week by German champions SC Magdeburg. This duel was the 2002 Champions League final, won by SCM - but in 2023, both teams started their Champions League campaign without a win, as Magdeburg lost 24:25 at Wisla Plock. Due to those results, Veszprem are still second ranked and two points ahead of the former Champions League winners and current club world champions. The first duel of this season ended with a high-scoring 35:35 draw, when newly crowned world champion Rasmus Lauge scored eight goals. If Veszprem win the re-match, they would have sealed the deal for the quarter-finals qualification, as Magdeburg could not pass the Hungarian record champions anymore with a four-point-gap before the last two rounds.

PPD Zagreb showed a great fight last week against Paris, but expectedly lost 30:33. Now, the team of head coach Slavko Goluza travel to Porto - and the pressure is again on the Croatian record champions. As Plock beat Magdeburg last week, the distance from Zagreb to the Polish side is only one point - and even Porto still can hope to proceed, after they took their first win of the season, a 32:23 against Bucharest. But PPD have good memories on Porto, as the 29:23 win in the first duel in September - including ten goals of Timur Dibirov were their first points of the Champions League season. If Zagreb win, the chances to keep the sixth position - which means the qualification for the play-offs - would clearly rise, having the matches against Magdeburg and at GOG ahead still.

Thursday, 16 February (20:45 CET): FC Porto - PPD Zagreb
Thursday, 16 February (20:45 CET): SC Magdeburg - Telekom Veszprem

EHF European League

After Nexe successfully qualified for the Last16 last week, the team of head coach Branko Tamse now aims to defend the top position in group C, which would mean not to face any other group winners in the race for the final tournament in Flensburg in May. Having 12 points on their account, the Nasice-based team is two points ahead of Granollers (Spain) and Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) - and both teams have also clinched their berth for the knockout stage. On Tuesday, Nexe travel to Lake Balaton in Hungary, facing Balatonfuredi KSE - and after winning the first duel 37:23, Nexe are the clear favourites against the hosts, who only have three points on their account.

In group D, Eurofarm Pelister have a do-or-die match ahead. After losing at Skanderborg (Denmark) last week, the team of head coach Lars Walther still ranks fourth, which is enough for making it to the Last 16. But as their next opponent Aguas Santas Milanzea from Portugal have sensationally beaten Bidasoa Irun last week, the advance to them and Motor Zaporozhye is only two points. Eurofarm Pelister had won the first duel at Portugal 29:27 after a close fight - and need two points to enter the path for the knockout stage.

Only a miracle can help Tatran Presov in group A to make it to the Last 16, as they have only two points on their account three rounds before the end. And on Tuesday, the task is a huge one, as they face former EHF Champions League winners Montpellier Handball on home ground. Besides German side Fuchse Berlin, Montpellier is the only European League team with the optimum of seven wins from the same number of matches. Like runners-up Frisch Auf Goppingen, Montepellier have already booked the ticket for the next stage. If Tatran lose, they are eliminated already.  

Tuesday, 7 February (18:45 CET): Tatran Presov - Montpellier Handball
Tuesday 7 February (20:45 CET)  Eurofarm Pelister - Aguas Santas Milaneza
Tuesday, 7 February (17:00 CET) Balatonfuredi KSE - Nexe

EHF European Cup

In the first leg of the Last 16, Vojvodina have almost clinched their berth for the quarter-finals. On Saturday, they took the clearest of all first leg results, beating Norwegian side OIF Arendal 42:29 after a 22:17 halftime advance. Best scorers of the Serbian side in a one-side duel were Milan Milic (8), Milos Grozdanic (7) and Barys Pukhouski (6). Besides, goalkeeper Fran Lucin saved nine shots. The reverse leg is played on Saturday in Norway.

Saturday, 18 February (17:00 CET) OIF Arendal - Vojvodina