13 Sep. 2023
The new season of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League, the European premium club competition, will throw off on Wednesday, 13 September, with 16 teams at the start, ready to try and take the crown from SC Magdeburg, who clinched the title last season in dramatic fashion in the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL in Cologne.
Three of the four European teams which will take part in the 2023 IHF Men’s Super Globe – reigning champions SC Magdeburg, Spanish powerhouse Barça and KS Kielce, the Polish side who lost last season’s final against Magdeburg – are also in the mix in the European top competition, as they aim once again for trophies, with all of them having secured the coveted Champions League trophy in the past 10 years.
The 16 teams have been divided into two groups of eight teams each, with the top two sides in each group progressing directly to the quarter-finals of the competition, while the teams ranked three to six face off in the play-offs, trying to progress to the quarter-finals themselves.
There will be no shortage of drama in this season’s Machineseeker EHF Champions League, with some of the top clubs in Europe locking horns, in two very tough groups. Group A sees two of last season’s TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 participants, KS Kielce and Paris Saint-Germain Handball compete, in what will be Nikola Karabatic’s last-ever season as a player, with Karabatic having announced his retirement before the start of the competition.
Other strong sides, such as Aalborg Håndbold, reinforced by the transfer of Niklas Landin, OTP-Bank Pick Szeged or German champions THW Kiel are also in the group, with new Norwegian super-team Kolstad Handball also making their debut in the European premium competition in Group A.
Kolstad have delivered some excellent transfers over the summer, bringing in stars like Sander Sagosen or Goran Johannessen, as they aim higher and higher over the next seasons, dreaming about the trophy in the future.
In their return in the European top competition after 17 years, Macedonian side RK Eurofarm Pelister, will also challenge in Group A, while RK Zagreb, the Croatian champions, will be at the start of the 31st season in the Champions League, a record for the competition.
In Group B, reigning champions SC Magdeburg will face Barça once again, after winning the last two finals at the IHF Men’s Super Globe, as well as last season’s semi-final in the Champions League in Cologne, in what is slowly starting to become one of the toughest rivalries in the last decade.
Telekom Veszprém HC, a perennial contender, which suffered a makeover this summer, is also in Group B and will be looking for one of the top two places in the group, especially after Barça lost some key players, including centre back Luka Cindric in the summer.
Returning to the European premium competition, Montpellier HB, a two-time winner of the competition, will look to add more drama in the group, while Danish side GOG aim to remain one of the teams to beat, despite losing their coach, Nicolej Krickau, and the All-Star left back of the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship, Simon Pytlick, who moved to Flensburg this summer.
RK Celje Pivovarna Laško, Orlen Wisla Plock and FC Porto complete the group, in what can prove to be one of the most balanced and toughest season in the history of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League.