After both SEHA teams defeated their opponents in the qualification round, it is time for them to start the group phase. Nexe's first match is against Frisch Auf Goeppingen and Tatran travel to Denmark to play Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.
The Croatian vice-champions Nexe probably have the toughest opening match they could have asked for. The strong German club are the most successful team in the history of the competition. They won 4 titles, including 2 in the last two years. The first two titles also came in 2011 and 2012. It is fair to say they enjoyed a good amount of success over the past couple of years in the EHF Cup. However, Nexe have proven to be a tough match up for a lot of teams in both the SEHA - Gazprom League and the EHF Cup so far. "We don’t want to talk too much about our opponents. We want to play a great match and give our best on the court. If we’re going to be brave enough, there might be a chance to win some points, which would mean a lot later in the competiton", said Nexe’s head coach Hrvoje Horvat for RK Nexe TV.
Despite only recording one win in the SEHA- Gazprom League, Nexe have displayed some very good performances at times. The team from Nasice are often the underdogs, but they are also a team that fights throughout the entire 60 minutes. Marko Buvinic said before the match: "They are the favourites, but that means we can play without pressure. As the coach said, we want to give our best performance, and I hope we’ll deliver on the court". Nexe’s other opponents in Group C are Koper from Slovenia and Cocks from Finland. The match against Goeppingen is on Saturday at 19:30.
The Slovakian champions Tatran Presov had a chance to play in the Champions League once again, but were defeated in the qualifying tournament at the start of the season. Now, they are focusing on Group A matches in the EHF Cup, with the first one coming this Saturday at 14:00 in Denmark. For the club’s website, Tatran’s head coach Slavko Goluza explained that it will not be an easy match against Bjerringbro-Silkeborg: "They are definitely the favourites, but we are prepared for a difficult battle. We have certain problems with our squad, but of course we will do our best to be successful. Silkeborg are a top quality team with the likes of Knutsen, Markussen and Skub in their squad. It won’t be easy". The Danish side defeated HK Malmö in the qualification round 3. They are currently 3rd in the Danish League with 12 wins from 18 matches.
Tatran Presov’s other Group A opponents are Magdeburg and SKA Minsk. Jakub Hrstka commented on the match and the group for the club’s website: "We are going to Denmark to play a good game and perhaps take some points. The group is very demanding. The priority will be winning points at home, and maybe steal some points in away matches. Our main goal is make it out of the group". It will undoubtedly be a hard match in Denmark, but if Tatran can play the way they opened the season in the SEHA - Gazprom League, they can surely cause some problems for Silkeborg.
We want to wish good luck to both of our EHF Cup participants!