08 Sep. 2022
The 2022/23 season of the EHF European Cup Men, the third-tier continental club competition, is about to throw off with 12 matches of round 1 between 9 and 11 September. Six first-leg games and three double-headers will be held this weekend, while four more double-headers and six second-leg encounters are scheduled for 17 and 18 September.
Among the 26 participants in the opening stage, there are clubs from 16 countries, with the Czech Republic being represented with most teams (three). HC Dukla Praha will face SPD Radnicki Kragujevac from Serbia, HC Robe Zubri will meet Turkey's Izmir BSB SK, and TJ Sokol Nove Veseli are to play against HC Tallinn from Estonia.
However, the only national derby in round 1 will be Italian, as Raimond Sassari will face SSV Brixen. While Sassari played in the EHF European Cup Men last season, losing to eventual champions Naerbo IL in round 2, Brixen will make their first appearance in Europe after the 2006/07 EHF Cup.
The 13 winners of round 1 will progress to round 2, where they will be joined by 51 teams who have been directly seeded into this stage. The Norwegian club Naerbo IL, winners of the EHF European Cup Men 2021/22, and former EHF Champions League Men participants RK Gorenje Velenje, are among the teams who will enter the competition in round 2, which will be played on the weekends of 29/30 October and 5/6 November.
The draw for this stage was conducted on 6 September, and Naerbo will meet the winners of the tie between Israel's Maccabi Rishon Lezion, while Velenje will play Bregenz Handball from Austria. Besides, one more national derby will take place at that stage, with the Estonian sides Polva Serviti and Viljandi HC facing each other.
For more information on the EHF European Cup Men, visit eurohandball.com.
Photo: CS Minaur Baia Mare