Champions League handball is back this weekend!
One more spot in Group D awaits. Sporting CP, Tatran Presov, Alpla HC Hard and Cocks are set to battle for the final Champions League position. Slovakian champions are hosting the Qualification tournament and are eager to take advantage of the situation. Their new coach Slavko Goluza clearly stated that reaching the Velux EHF Champions League is their main aim this season.
The opening match is between the Portuguese side Sporting CP and Cocks from Finland. Michal Kopco from Sporting is going to have his special moment, since he’s coming back to Presov after spending three seasons with Tatran before a move to Portugal. Sporting is entering the season with high hopes and ambitions after winning the domestic title and the EHF Challenge Cup last season. They are going to be a tough opponent for the Finnish team Cocks. The Finns took part in the last season’s edition of the EHF Cup, but were not able to record a single point.
The second match will see Tatran Presov clash with the Austrian champions Alpla HC Hard. Originally, the Austrians were supposed to host the qualification tournament, but they were forced to withdraw, therefore Tatran is the team with the home court advantage.
Tatran is going to be hoping their most recent spectacular victory against Meshkov Brest will make them work even harder to make the final Champions League spot their own. They are not strangers to the Champions League qualifiers, as they played in the qualifying tournament the last 2 seasons. They will look to repeat the last season’s success, when they beat Gorenje in the final stage of the qualifiers and secured their spot among the best European teams. This time, the pressure is on them, but the Slovakian champions look ready to take part in the most prestigious club handball competition in the world.
Dinamo and Vojvodina in action in the EHF Cup qualifiers
Both SEHA - Gazprom League newcomers are playing in this years’ EHF Cup qualifications. Dinamo from Pancevo are playing their matches on the 1st and 2nd of September, whereas Vojvodina has their matches scheduled for the 9th and 10th of September.
These two teams clashed in the opening round of the SEHA - Gazprom League on August the 30th, Dinamo came out on top in their SEHA debut. They play their qualifying matches against Benfica from Portugal just two days after the first round of the SEHA - Gazprom League. Dinamo’s head coach Ivan Petkovic admitted that two matches against Benfica will serve as a preparation for a match against Meshkov. Three matches in four days are almost an impossible task, so we might see some fresh faces against the Portuguese side.
The Serbian champions Vojvodina are due to play next week, against a Greek team A.C. Doukas. Novi Sad based club also has a match against Nexe on Tuesday 6th of September, so they have some time to prepare for the qualifiers. Similar to Dinamo’s situation, they have quite a tight schedule, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they deal with the situation.
All in all, we are proud to announce that all ten SEHA- Gazprom League teams are playing in the European competitions one way or another. We wish them good luck, especially to the teams playing in the qualifying stages!