EHFCL round 4: Can Gorenje and Vardar remain unbeaten?Author: SGL, Published: 04.10.2017.
This is the first time this season that one of the SEHA teams got scheduled to play during the mid-week. Gorenje will try to prolong their fantastic winning streak in Champions League against Kadetten Schaffhausen, whereas the other Slovenian team is traveling to Paris to face Paris Saint-Germain. A tough fixture awaits for Vardar, who will try to remain unbeaten as the Macedonian team has a match against Pick Szeged in Hungary.
Thursday holds the second match of the Champions League round 4. Gorenje Velenje are looking for their fourth straight win, but it is not going to be an easy match, as Schaffhausen are determined to bounce back with a victory after a heart-breaking loss to Dinamo Bucuresti. Zeljko Babic's team is currently top of the Group C and are also one of the four unbeaten teams so far in the competition. Schaffhausen will probably view this match as a must-win, as a loss would put them 6 points behind Gorenje. If the Slovenian vice-champions go on to win the match, this run would undoubtedly be one of the biggest accomplishments in club's recent history.
Champions League action is resumed on Saturday when Vardar play against Pick Szeged. Even though the Hungarians lost their first match to Nantes, the team went on to beat PPD Zagreb in Zagreb and Kristianstad at home. However, everything is pointing in Vardar's direction this time. The reigning European champions will be encouraged by the fact that they have won the last 4 encounters against Pick Szeged, as well as winning every Champions League and SEHA match of the season. Gonzalez's squad is currently flying high and will look to continue their fine form on Saturday.
This Sunday is definitely a great handball day for all the fans. Metalurg are the first SEHA team to step on the court on Sunday. They travel to Ukraine and have a tough opposition awaiting for them - Motor Zaporozhye. The young Macedonians recorded an important win in the last round beating Sporting, after losing to Montpellier and Besiktas. Motor are currently second in Group D, only behind the unbeaten Montpellier and will definitely be a difficult matchup for Metalurg. However, Metalurg have recently shown glimpse of their potential, winning against Sporting and playing well against PPD Zagreb in the SEHA - Gazprom League. The team will surely give their all on Sunday in Ukraine.
After three incredibly demanding matches, Meshkov Brest are set to continue their European journey with a match in Denmark against the Danish champions Aalborg. The pacey Danish own the same record as Meshkov- one win and two losses. That means, this match could prove to be crucial in the later part of the group stage. Meshkov have displayed quite a few high-quality performances and can be proud of their Champions League campaign up until now. Aalborg have suffered two narrow losses against German teams - Kiel and Flensburg, but have beaten Celje. There is really not much between the two sides at the moment and it should be a fantastic match.
PPD Zagreb have put themselves in a tricky situation in Group A. Not only have they failed to win in Sweden against Kristianstad, they have lost at home to Pick Szeged and away to Vardar. That leaves them with only one point in three matches, meaning the Sunday clash against Orlen Wisla Plock is an absolute must win. The Polish side and Chekhovskiye Medvedi are the only two teams still searching for their first points in this season’s Champions League. Kamenica’s team played a terrific match in Skopje against Metalurg and that should give them confidence to achieve their first win in Group A. Another promising thing is that Zagreb have won both of their last 2 matches against Wisla Plock in 2015 in Champions League.
At the same time as PPD Zagreb, Celje start their 4th round match in Paris. Paris Saint-Germain have lost their previous Champions League match versus Flensburg. These two teams encountered in 2015; PSG won both matches, but Celje did well each time. The Slovenian team picked up a huge win against the Polish powerhouse Kielce, showing they are able to compete with the strongest teams. They will enter this match without much pressure to achieve a great result, knowing just how strong PSG is this year. It’s interesting that only Veszprem scored more goals than Celje in Group B, but Celje conceded 98 goals so far, the most in the entire competition. We are anticipating an amazing match in Paris on Sunday!
After a few excellent matches on Tuesday in the SEHA - Gazprom League, the time has once more come to switch our focus on Champions League action and 6 SEHA teams participating in the competition. Did we mention no other league has more members?
20:15 Kadetten Schaffhausen- Gorenje Velenje
17:30 MOL- Pick Szeged- HC Vardar
15:00 HC Motor Zaporozhye- HC Metalurg
16:50 Aalborg Handbold- HC Meshkov Brest
17:00 PPD Zagreb- Orlen Wisla Plock
17:00 Paris Saint-Germain Handball- RK Celje PL