EHFCL Round 11 Preview: Vardar travel to Barcelona, Celje PL hosts PSG

Arpad Sterbik

Teams from Groups C and D including Gorenje Velenje and Metalurg finished their group matches. It means that SEHA - Gazprom League now has 4 participants still left in the competition, since Gorenje and Metalurg did not secure a top 2 finish in their respective groups. Vardar are still unbeaten in Group A, PPD Zagreb need to pick their form up if they want to reach the next stage, with Meshkov Brest and Celje PL will look to fight for a spot in the 1/8 finals.

Meshkov Brest have an important match against Aalborg as their first Champions League match in 2018. Aalborg have only managed to secure 4 points so far in the competition with wins against Celje PL and Veszprem. The Belarusian champions are in a far better position than their opponents with 7 points and they will be hoping to reach the next stage. In the first match between the two sides Meshkov defeated Aalborg in Denmark- 23:20, so it is likely going to be a low scoring match once again.

Weekend's action is going to be commenced with PPD Zagreb's match against Orlen Wisla Plock in Poland. It might be the most important match for Zagreb, as Wisla Plock are their direct competitors for the next round. With just one win and 4 points, both teams currently sit at the bottom of the Group A. 2 points from this match would definitely be huge for both teams. It a was draw last time these two teams played in Arena Zagreb, with PPD Zagreb coming close to a win with the final shot of the match.

Perhaps the most interesting match of the 11th round is the one between Vardar and Barcelona. The Catalonians desperately need a win in this match, as they only have 12 points and 5 wins from the first 10 rounds. Vardar, on the other side, have been undefeated for the entire season in the Champions League, with 8 wins and 2 draws so far. The current champions definitely want to keep their streak alive. Their match back in October ended up with Vardar taking 2 points- it was 27:24, so it will be interesting to see if Barcelona can get their revenge.

The only match on Sunday with SEHA teams will be the one in Celje- when Celje PL host the French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Celje PL are in a similar situation like Aalborg, they have 4 points, but still have a chance to go through. It will be hard, and the first Champions League match comes against PSG, who are on top of the Group B with 18 points. The Slovenian champions played quite well in Paris, losing 32:27, but the margin should have been lower. Any match against such a good team will be hard, and so will this one.

Wednesday February 7th
18:00 Meshkov Brest - Aalborg Handbold

Saturday February 10th
16:00 Orlen Wisla Plock - PPD Zagreb
18:00 FC Barcelona-Lassa - Vardar

Sunday February 11th
17:00 Celje PL - Paris Saint-Germain