Barça win the EHF Champions League Men for the 11th time in history

09 Jun. 2024

Barça win the EHF Champions League Men for the 11th time in history

Barça are the new EHF Champions League Men title holders, after securing two wins in the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4, against THW Kiel and Aalborg Handbold, clinching their 11th title in the European premium competition, cementing their status as the most decorated team in the history of the competition.

The Spanish giants were considered underdogs at the start of the season, after losing two key players in Ludovic Fabregas and Luka Cindric, but Barça hit full throttle towards the end of the season, when they ended the competition with four wins in a row, to secure another title.

Four teams were involved in this edition of the EHF FINAL4, the 15th in history, with two German teams – reigning champions SC Magdeburg and THW Kiel – and one team from Spain and Denmark each.

However, both German sides were eliminated in the semi-finals on Saturday, with Magdeburg missing the chance to become only the second team in history in the EHF FINAL4 era to secure back-to-back titles, after conceding a 26:28 loss against Aalborg Handbold in the first match of the showdown.

In his bid to secure the maiden title in the EHF Champions League Men, left back Mikkel Hansen, a three-time IHF Male World Player of the Year, scored five goals, while right back Mads Hoxer added eight goals, to deliver a huge upset in the LANXESS Arena in Cologne, lifting Aalborg to their second-ever final in the European premium competition. 

The second semi-final looked to be a balanced match, with Barça facing THW Kiel in a true classic of a match, but the Spanish side was absolutely fantastic, leaving no stone unturned in delivering a huge win, 30:18, one of the biggest in the history of the EHF FINAL4.

Therefore, the final was going to be a rematch of the last act of the 2021 edition, when Barça secured a 36:21 win against Aalborg in the final, but this time around it was much closer than that, with the two sides trading blows throughout the whole 60 minutes.

No side managed to open a gap larger than three goals, but when Barça had a 30:27 lead with three minutes to go, everything looked settled. Backed by 20 goals from backs Mads Hoxer, Mikkel Hansen and Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen, Aalborg bounced back and had the chance to tie the match with their last attack.

A free throw from nine metres attempted by Mikkel Hansen hit the post and Barça were crowned champions for the 11th time in the EHF Champions League Men’s history, with the Spanish powerhouse winning a third of the 15 editions of the EHF FINAL4, this being their fifth title in Cologne.

With eight goals against Aalborg and five against Kiel, right back Melvyn Richardson was named the MVP of the EHF FINAL4, while PSG’s line player, Kamil Syprzak, became the top goal scorer of the season, with 112 goals, the first line player and the first Polish player to secure this individual title.

In the 3/4 Placement Match, THW Kiel secured a 32:28 win over Magdeburg, but it was a pale consolation for a team whose season was underwhelming.

Barça have now qualified for the 2024 IHF Men’s Club World Championship, which will take place in Egypt, as the Spanish side join the reigning champions, SC Magdeburg, as the two teams representing Europe in the competition.

Photo credit: EHF / Kolektiff / Sasa Pahic Szabo