EHFCL Round 1 Preview: Season starts in Brest, PPD Zagreb welcome Kiel, Motor at home versus Barça

EHF Champions League

With SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4 tournament almost two weeks behind us, the time has come for the beginning of EHF Champions League. SEHA League will this season have five of its clubs participating in Europe's most elite handball competition. Apart from four teams which battled for SEHA crown in Zadar ten days ago – Telekom Veszprem, Meshkov Brest, Vardar 1961 and PPD Zagreb, Motor Zaporozhye have also found their place among 16 teams which will this season, in a whole new EHFCL system, fight for their ticket to Cologne and prestigious European crown.

We will, once again this season, before and after every EHF Champions League round bring you a preview and a recap of all the appearances of our SEHA teams in Europe’s most elite handball championship. And with the opening match of the season being scheduled for Wednesday (17.45 CET) it’s time to get started with our first preview of the season.

(Group A) Meshkov Brest – Vardar 1961

SEHA derby will get this season’s EHF Champions League going with Meshkov Brest welcoming Vardar 1961. Two teams met in EHF Champions League group stage last season as well with either team managing to grab a win at home. In their last season’s encounter in Brest, Mikita Vailupau was shining with 12 goals in his team’s dominant 31:22 win over reigning European champions. It is clear Vardar will now look to take revenge against Meshkov who have in the semi-final, and especially the bronze-medal match in Zadar proved to be in great form with the Champions League season right around the corner.

(Group B) Nantes – Telekom Veszprem

Reigning SEHA – Gazprom League champions will start EHF Champions League campaign on Wednesday in France playing against Nantes. Telekom Veszprem have already qualified for last season’s EHFCL Final tournament which will in December be played in German Cologne. However, judging by their roster and form they have presented in Zadar, it is clear coach Davis and his players will look to start the Champions League season strong. Match against Champions League runner-ups from the 2017/18 season will definitely be another good test for the Hungarian giants who once again have the highest possible goals for the season.

(Group B) PPD Zagreb – Kiel

PPD Zagreb will, after two losses against Vardar 1961 and Meshkov Brest in Zadar as well as against Nexe in a friendly a few days ago, open Champions League season against one of Europe’s best teams at the moment – German THW Kiel led by Croatian national team captain Domagoj Duvnjak and one of Europe’s most prolific scorers and best players in general Sander Sagosen. Igor Vori and his guys definitely won’t have an easy task playing such a quality team but they’ll certainly look to take advantage of this one in order to see how they stack up against one of the best teams in Europe at the moment.

(Group B) Motor Zaporozhye – Barça

Third SEHA – Gazprom League representative featured in EHF Champions League Group B are Ukrainian Motor Zaporozhye who will start the season welcoming Barça. Just like THW Kiel, Telekom Veszprem and PSG, Barça have already qualified for last season’s Champions League Final 4 in Cologne and they will surely be looking to start building the right form as soon as possible. Motor have on the other hand proved to be in great form early in the season defeating Odessa 38:19 in Ukrainian Cup final ten days ago and it will be interesting to see whether coach Gintaras Savukynas and his guys have what it takes to stun European handball giants from Spain.

EHFCL Round 1 schedule for SEHA – Gazprom League teams:

Wednesday (18:45 CET)  Meshkov Brest - Vardar 1961

Wednesday (20:45 CET) Nantes - Telekom Veszprem

Thursday (18:45 CET) PPD Zagreb - Kiel

Thursday (18:45 CET) Motor Zaporozhye - Barça