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Date: 3/6/2018
 

The VELUX EHF Champions League is ready to enter the knock-out stage after almost seven months of exciting competition. 18 nations are represented in the competition between Europe’s strongest men’s club teams, which began with the group phase in September 2017. The group phase came to an end on March 4, and now the top sides will prepare to contest the Last 16 from the end of March to the beginning of April.

 

Four groups contest the Champions League group phase, with the top six sides from Groups A and B proceeding to the knock-out rounds, while the top two teams from Groups C and D meet to play a two-leg knock-out round that determines the Last 16 participants. In Groups A and B, the winners go directly to the quarter-finals, while the next five play the two-leg Last 16.

 

Title defenders HC Vardar have continued their strong form that led them to Macedonia’s first Champions League trophy at the end of the 2016/17 season, as they topped Group A. 2016/17 runners-up Paris-Saint Germain Handball, featuring the most recent World Handball Players of the Year, Nikola Karabatic (2014 and 2016) and Mikkel Hansen (2015), won Group B. These sides now await their opponents for the quarter-finals.

 

From Group A, FC Barcelona Lassa (Spain), HBC Nantes (France), Rhein-Neckar Löwen (Germany), MOL-Pick Szeged (Hungary) and IFK Kristianstad (Sweden) qualified for the Last 16 after a close battle that saw the final tickets to the next stage decided only on the last day of matches. Telekom Veszprém HC (Hungary), SG Flensburg-Handewitt (Germany), THW Kiel (Germany), PGE Vive Kielce (Poland) and HC Meshkov Brest (Belarus) secured Group B’s places in the Last 16.

 

From Groups C and D, Skjern Handbold (Denmark) and Montpellier HB (France) continued their impressive form from the group phase as they won their respective two-leg play-offs to book their places in the knock-out round. Skjern Handbold took a 63:58 aggregative victory over Ukrainian team HC Motor Zaporozhye, while Montpellier beat Spanish side Abanca Ademar Leon 48:43 on aggregate. 

 

The top scorer in the Champions League at the end of the group phase is German left wing Uwe Gensheimer, who contributed 80 goals toward PSG’s successful campaign.

 

The Last 16 will be played between March 21 and April 1, when Barcelona will meet Montpellier, Veszprém will play Skjern, Nantes will take on Meshkov Brest, Flensburg will take the court against Kristianstad, Rhein-Neckar Löwen will face Kielce, and Kiel will play Szeged. All matches will be streamed free and live on ehfTV.com.

 

More information can be found on the Champions League website ehfcl.com.

 

Photo: EHF

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