The eighth edition of the SEHA - Gazprom League is reaching its climax in Brest, Belarus on 2nd and 3rd of April, with the Final 4 tournament. After 90 matches of the regular season, the four participants of the SEHA - Gazprom League Final 4 2019 have been confirmed: Vardar, PPD Zagreb, Nexe and Meshkov Brest. The race of the top quartet was as close as never before, as the very last goal in the 90th and last match (Tatran Presov’s winning strike for the 29:28 in Zagreb) decided the final ranking.
Before the pinnacle event of the competition is about to start, here are the most important Facts and Figures of the SEHA - Gazprom League season 2018/19 and the history of the competition:
0 teams of the SEHA - Gazprom League finished the regular season either with a clean record or without a win: Four defeats were the lowest number by Vardar, again number 1 of the ranking.Izvidjac took only one victory and one draw each in 18 matches.
1 FINAL 4 debutant made it to Brest: Nexe, so for the first time, two Croatian clubs are part of the FINAL 4. However, Nexe were a part of the final tournament once, in Veszprem in 2015.
1 semi-final pairing of this season - Vardar vs Meshkov Brest - was already one semi-final duel in the previous season, when Vardar won 32:24, besides that, Vardar vs Meshkov was the final in 2014 in Novi Sad, Vardar won again 29:27.
1 - time, the defending SEHA - Gazprom League champion was the defending VELUX Champions League champion at the same time: HC Vardar in the 2017/18 season.
2 - for the second time after 2013, when Vardar beat Metalurg 22:21, two teams from the same country duel in a semi-final of the SEHA - Gazprom League now: PPD Zagreb and Nexe from Croatia.
2 clubs and one nation represented had their debut in the 2018/19 SEHA - Gazprom League: Steaua Bucuresti and Romania and Serbian side Zeleznicar 1949.
2 matches of the regular season ended with 70 or more goals, and the Final 4 hosts Meshkov Brest were involved in both: Steaua vs Meshkov (42:33) and Meshkov vs Metalurg (41:29).
2 teams only managed to defend a title in seven Final 4 tournaments so far: Veszprem in 2015 and 2016 and Vardar in 2017/2018.
2 of the 90 matches of the regular season 2018/19 ended with draws, compared to twelve in the previous season. None of the four Final 4 participants drew even once in their 18 matches.
2 cities had hosted or will host the SEHA - Gazprom League Final 4 twice: Skopje (2013 and 2018) and now Brest (2017, 2019).
2 Final 4 hosts - again Veszprem (in 2015) and Vardar (in 2018) - managed to raise the trophy on home ground. In 2012, Zagreb missed the final on home ground, in 2013, Vardar lost the final in Skopje against Zagreb, and in 2017, Meshkov Brest finished third ranked.
2 of 3 former or current winners of the SEHA - Gazprom League have booked their tickets for the Final 4 in Brest: Vardar (winners in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2018) and PPD Zagreb (2013). Veszprem (2015, 2016) are not part of the competition anymore.
2 nations represented by the SEHA - Gazprom League Final 4 participants had qualified for the 2019 World Championship in Germany and Denmark. While Belarus lost in the play-offs against Austria, Croatia finished sixth ranked, Macedonia on position 15.
2 matches of the regular season ended with 70 or more goals - compared to four in the 2016/17 season.
2 participants of the 2019 Final 4 of the SEHA - Gazprom League have been part of all Final 4 editions since 2012: Vardar and PPD Zagreb. Meshkov Brest are regular participants since 2013.
3 of the four SEHA - Gazprom League Final 4 participants had qualified for the knock-out stage of the VELUX EHF Champions League: Vardar, PPD Zagreb and Meshkov Brest were part of the Last16 duels. Nexe compete in the EHF Cup group phase.
4 clubs – PPD Zagreb, Vardar, Tatran Presov and Nexe - are part of the SEHA - Gazprom League since the start in the 2011/12 season.
6 times so far, Vardar made it to the final of the SEHA - Gazprom League (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), while Meshkov Brest (2014, 2015) and PPD Zagreb (2013, 2018) were finalists twice.
6 different cities in five different countries have hosted the Final 4 events of the SEHA - Gazprom League so far: Zagreb, Skopje (2), Novi Sad, Veszprem, Varazdin and Brest (2).
7 times before - which means at every edition of a SEHA - Gazprom League Final 4 tournament - Vardar and Zagreb had locked horns. In 2013, Zagreb won the final 25:24 after extra time, in 2018, Vardar turned the page around to win the final 26:24. In 2012 (30:29), 2014 (30:22), 2016 (26:24) and 2017 (36:28) Vardar took the upper hand in the semi-finals, in 2015, Zagreb won the bronze final 26:23. In 2019, both sides still can duel either in the final or the bronze medal match again.
7 nations are represented by the ten clubs, participating in the SEHA - Gazprom League season 2018/19: Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia (each two clubs), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Belarus and for the first time Romania.
8 times including the upcoming edition, Vardar and PPD Zagreb are part of the FINAL 4 tournaments of the SEHA - Gazprom League, which means both sides had always qualified for all final events.
9 matches of the regular season ended with 45 or less goals.
9 straight victories of Meshkov Brest in the nine last matches of the regular season were the longest unbeaten run of all clubs.
10 different countries have been represented by clubs since the start of the SEHA - Gazprom League in the 2011/12 season: Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus and Romania.
11 goals had been the biggest difference in any final match of the SEHA - Gazprom League so far, when hosts Veszprem defeated Meshkov 32:21 in 2015.
14 points Vardar were ahead of runners-ups Zagreb in the final table of the regular round in the 2017/18 season - the largest gap between the two teams ever.
16 matches of the regular season ended with a difference of ten and more goals after 13 in the season 2017/18.
16 matches of the regular round ended with an overall number of goals of 60 or more, after 25 in the previous season.
17 victories in 18 matches of the regular season and finally 19 wins including the Final 4 on home ground are the current All-Time season record, achieved by Vardar in 2017/18.
19 goals was the largest difference in the regular season, when Metalurg beat Vojvodina 39:20.
25 different clubs had been participating in the SEHA - Gazprom League since their start in the 2011/12 season.
35 times in the 90 matches of the regular season, the away teams were victorious - after 27 in the previous season.
37 goals was the lowest number of goals scored in a single match of the regular season, when PPD Zagreb beat Nexe 20:17.
42 points are the outcome of Vardar to top the ranking of the regular round for the third straight time - after 47 points in the previous season.
53 times in the 90 matches of the regular season, the home teams were victorious, in the 2017/18 season, 50 home wins occurred.
53,7 goals had been scored in average in every match of the regular season, compared to 55,7 in the previous season.
75 was the highest number of goals in a single match of the regular season, when Steaua Bucuresti beat Meshkov Brest 42:33.
82 goals were scored in both All-Croatian duels of the regular season, PPD Zagreb vs Nexe (20:17 and 22:23).
+90 is the goal difference of Meshkov Brest after the regular season to top the ranking, ahead of Nexe (+49), Vardar (+45) and Zagreb (+42).
102 goals were scored by Vojvodina’s Milos Grozdanic to be top scorer of the regular season. The best scorer, who is still in competition, is Nexe’s Halil Jaganjac, who netted 77 times so far.
420 goals were conceded by Nexe to have the best defence after the regular season ahead of PPD Zagreb (442), Tatran Presov (444), Vardar (467) and Meshkov Brest (483).
573 goals were scored by Meshkov Brest to have the best attack after the regular season ahead of Vardar (512), Metalurg (494), Tatran Presov (493), PPD Zagreb (484) and Nexe (469).
4833 goals had been scored in total in the 90 matches of the regular season, in the 2017/18 season, there were 5017.
Highes scoring matches:
75 goals: Steaua Bucuresti vs Meshkov Brest 42:33
70 goals: Meshkov Brest vs Metalurg 41:29
68 goals: Steaua Bucuresti vs Izvidjac 36:32
Lowest scoring matches:
37 goals: PPD Zagreb vs Nexe 20:17
39 goals: Nexe vs Izvidjac 22:17
43 goals: Zeleznicar 1949 vs Nexe 18:25
43 goals: Vojvodina vs PPD Zagreb 20:23
43 goals: Izvidjac vs PPD Zagreb 21:22
+19 goals: Metalurg vs Vojvodina 39:20
+18 goals: Meshkov Brest vs Izvidjac 40:22
+ 16 goals: Meshkov Brest vs Vojvodina 35:19
102 goals: Milos Grozdanic (Vojvodina)
90 goals: Bruno Butorac (Tatran Presov)
77 goals: Halil Jaganjac (Nexe/Metalurg)
77 goals: Predrag Vejin (Zeleznicar 1949)
75 goals: Zlatko Horvat (PPD Zagreb)
Top scorers still in competition:
77 goals: Halil Jaganjac (Nexe/Metalurg)
75 goals: Zlatko Horvat (PPD Zagreb)
60 goals: Tomi Vozab (Nexe)