Crucial last group matches for Nexe, Eurofarm, Zagreb and Veszprem
The last rounds of the group phase in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League and the EHF European League are carried out from Tuesday to Thursday. And except already eliminated side of Tatran Presov all SEHA - Gazprom League participants have crucial matches ahead.
After losing at Porto on Sunday, PPD Zagreb need at least a point at Denmark to make it to the play-offs, while Telekom Veszprem still can hope to directly qualify for the quarter-finals.In the European League, Nexe fight for the top spot at Lisbon, Eurofarm Pelister at least need a draw against Motor Zaporozhye, while Tatran Presov have their last match of the competition ahead at Schaffhausen.
Machineseeker EHF Champions League
PPD Zagreb still have their fate in their hands to make it to the play-offs, but gave a great chance from their hands to book an early ticket for the knockout stage. On Sunday night the team of head coach Slavko Goluza lost the postponed match at FC Porto 26:28 (11:12) - a draw would have been enough for the Croatian record champions. Boosted by an overall of ten goals of Timur Dibirov and six strikes of Luka Lovre Klarica, Zagreb were constantly ahead in the first 25 minutes. Then Porto turned the tide - and pulled ahead to 24:20 in minute 52. But PPD Zagreb showed character and levelled the result again at 25:25, but then only scored once more. The best Porto player was Macedonian goalkeeper Nikola Mitrevski, who saved 13 shots, a percentage of 35.
Despite this unlucky defeat, Zagreb are still sixth-ranked in group A, one point ahead of Wisla Plock. As PPD had won the direct encounter against the Polish runners-up, a draw in their last match at GOG is enough, regardless Plock’s result at FC Porto. On home ground, Zagreb were defeated by GOG 27:31, Ivan Cupic and Csaba Leimeter were PPDS’s top scorers by five goals each.
Telekom Veszprem have a great final ahead at Paris Saint-Germain. The French side has already secured their spot in the quarter-finals and the top position with currently 22 points on their account. Veszprem are equal with Magdeburg on the second position but had lost the direct encounter against the German champions. Therefore, they can only finish second and skip the play-offs, if they finally have more points than the Germans, who have their last match on home ground against Dinamo Bucuresti. If Veszprem finish third, they will duel with the sixth-ranked team of group B in the play-offs end of March. Petar Nenadic, who is their best Champions League scorer, is no more part of Veszprem’s squad, as the club announced.
Wednesday, 1 March (20:45 CET) GOG - PPD Zagreb
Wednesday, 1 March (20:45 CET) Paris Saint-Germain - Telekom Veszprem
EHF European League
Like Veszprem in the Maschineseeker EHF Champions League, Nexe have a real final ahead in the EHF European League. The team of head coach Branko Tamse travel to Sporting CP in Lisbon. Due to their defeat against Alpla Hard last week, Nexe are equal on 14 points with the Portuguese side on positions one and two. As the Nasice-based team won the first duel with Sporting on home ground 32:31 thanks to a last-second goal of Ivan Srsen, a draw is already enough for them to finish on top of group C- which would mean to avoid a duel with another group winner in the quarter-finals.
If Nexe finish on top of group C, they might face Eurofarm Pelister in the Last 16, if the Macedonians finish fourth in group D. But still, the team of head coach Lars Walther is not through yet, but have to take at least a draw against Motor Zaporozhye in the final group match. The Bitola-based team is on six points, one point ahead of Motor Zaporozhye, which had surprisingly won against Bidasoa Irun last week. As Eurofarm Pelister won the first match 33:30 thanks to 14 goals of Sebastian Henneberg, one point is enough. If Pelister lose, they are out, if they win and Irun lose at Skanderborg, they would even finish on the third position of group D.
In group A, Tatran Presov say farewell to the European League, as the Slovak side is already out of the race for the Last 16. Their last match in this competition will be staged in Switzerland, hosts Kadetten Schaffhausen are already confirmed third-ranked in group A. Tatran had lost the first duel 31:37, when Oliver Rabek (8) and Nikola Ivanovic (6) were their top scorers.
Tuesday, 28 February (18:45 CET): Kadetten Schaffhausen – Tatran Presov
Tuesday 28 February (20:45 CET): Eurofarm Pelister - Motor Zaporozhye
Tuesday, 28 February (20:45 CET): Sporting CP - Nexe