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16.02.2018, 09:00◄ last page     


ROUND PREVIEW: With SKIF Krasnodar and HC Berchem already qualified, the last six quarter-final berths in the Men’s Challenge Cup are up for grabs this weekend
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The fight to join Krasnodar and Berchem

Last Sunday, Russian side SKIF Krasnodar and HC Berchem from Luxembourg qualified for the quarter-finals of the Men’s Challenge Cup when they won their respective double headers. This weekend, the last six tickets for the quarter-finals will be decided as the Last 16 stage comes to an end.

Coming into the second leg, the closest clash is between AM Madeira Andebol SAD and MSK Povazska Bystrica. As the first match in Slovakia ended with a narrow 25:23 win for Povazska Bystrica, the Portuguese side are not without a chance to turn the tables when the second leg throws off in Funchal late on Saturday afternoon.

The encounter between A.E.K. Athens and Göztepe SK is also far from decided. Göztepe took a 29:25 victory in the first leg at home in Turkey on Sunday, but a score line of four goals is not so daunting for A.E.K. with the prospect of playing on home ground in Athens on Saturday afternoon.

With HC Berchem already qualified, Luxembourg are sure to be represented in the quarter-finals, but the country still has the chance to count two teams among the top eight. To do so, Red Boys Differdange have to close a five-goal deficit when they host Dynamo-Victor in Oberkorn on Saturday. The Russian team won the first leg 31:26 on home ground last Saturday.

SGS Ramhat Hashron HC will have more trouble reaching the quarter-finals than Differdange. The Israeli team need to come back from seven goals behind against IBV Vestmannaeyjar, who won the first meeting 32:25 on Icelandic ground. Hashron will be missing line player Tal Gera, who has been suspended for two matches due to unsportsmanlike conduct in the first game.

After their 25:22 away win against HC Eurofarm Rabotbank, FyllingenBergen are very close to securing a place in the quarter-finals. 1,800 enthusiastic spectators in the Macedonian city of Bitola could not prevent the Norwegian team from leading the first match from start to finish, and now FyllingenBergen have a clear edge ahead of the return game in Framohallen, Bergen.

In the meantime, a convincing 33:25 away win against Haslum HK in the Norwegian league has added to FyllingenBergen’s confidence this week.

The last pairing appears to be decided already. Romanian AHC Potaissa Turda, who reached the finals last season, take a lead of no less than 44:24 into the second leg against Belgian side HC Vise BM on Sunday afternoon.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg

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