Experienced teams and optimistic newcomers in Group C
Two of the teams in Group C of the Men's EHF Cup group phase, FC Porto Sofarma and TTT Holstebro have plenty of European experience already, while HC Dobrogea Sud Constanta have only been in Europe once, and Liberbank Cuenca are European debutants.
All four teams will be in action on the first match day this Saturday.
- Holstebro doubt about groin injured right wing Kasper Kildelund
- Liberbank Cuenca are in a European Cup competition for the first time
- FC Porto Sofarma are seen by many as a favourite to reach the Finals
TTH Holstebro (DEN) vs HC Dobrogea Sud Constanta (ROU)
Saturday 9 February 15:00 local time, live on ehfTV
Playing in Europe is absolutely no new experience to Holstebro who were in the VELUX EHF Champions League group phase in the 2016/17 season, and who reached the Finals of the EHF Cup in the 2012/13 season, just to mention two of their finest achievements.
Their opponents in the Gråkjær Arena Saturday afternoon are only in Europe for the second time in history.
Last season, Dubrogea Sud Constanta reached the third qualification round of the EHF Cup.
This year, the Romanian side have made it to the group phase, which the enter as number one in the Romanian league.
They travel to Denmark with a fresh win in their domestic league, having won 39:33 at home against Minaru Baia Mare Tuesday.
“However, we will need to improve compared to that match to get a good result with us from Denmark.
“Above all, we will have to raise our level of concentration,” said left wing George Buricea.
Holstebro, currently number three in the Danish league, also earned a win their national league, defeating Champions League participats Bjerringbro-Silkeborg 37:33 away also Tuesday.
However, the match gave Holstebro coach Patrick Westeholm reason to worry about right wing Kasper Kildelund who sustained a groin injury.
“However, we still intend to prove that we rule in the Gråkjær Arena,” says Westerholm.
FC Porto Sofarma (POR) vs Liberbank Cuenca (ESP)
Saturday 9 February 18:00 local time, live on ehfTV
Just like Constanta, Porto are on top of their national league.
Many people tend to see the Portuguese side as a hot contender to reach the Final tournament of the EHF Cup this season.
This may have a lot to do with the fact that Porto eliminated none other than SC Magdeburg in the third and last qualification round for the group phase.
Magdeburg, who were second in the Bundesliga at the time, were defeated 57:53, as Porto qualified for the group phase.
“A little luck and lots of team work, with great defence and goalkeeping, Porto's Swedish coach Magnus Andersson mentioned as the key virtues in his team.
Saturday evening, Andersson´s team take on Liberbank Cuenca who are playing their maiden season in Europe, and who did not get the best possible dress rehearsal ahead of their trip to Northern Portugal.
On Tuesday, they lost 35:20 at home to Barca Lass in the Liga Asobal.
Porto did better in their last test, to say the least. On Wednesday night, they won 40:18 at home against AC Fafe in the Portuguese league.Author: Peter Bruun / br