Hard face huge challenge to reach group phrase
In qualification round 2 of the Men's EHF Cup, HC ALPLA Hard surprisingly eliminated Skjern Handbold, who reached the quarter-final of the VELUX EHF Champions League in the 2017/18 season.
However, the Austrian surprise package were not able to continue their success when they met Liberbank Cuenca in the first leg of their qualification round 3 tie.
The Spanish home team soon took a clear lead and by way of 15:9 at half-time, they went on to win by a big margin, 34:18. While Liberbank Cuenca are eying their second group phase berth in succession, the end seems near for Hard.
Cuenca are close to the group phase, and fellow Spanish side BM Logroño La Rioja look set to join them after a 37:26 home win against Belgian Achilles Bocholt. However, Abanca Ademar Leon have a more troublesome road after losing 30:27 in Hungary to Balatonfüredi KSE.
Wins of various sizes for Bundesliga teams
MT Melsungen did not really know what to expect before taking on Olympiacos SFP for the first leg at home Saturday.
As it turned out, the German Bundesliga team took a win, but after leading 19:13 at halftime, they could not be completely satisfied with a 32:28 win. 11 goals from Brazilian centre back Andre Toniazzo Lemos played a big part in the Greek team still being able to dream of the group phase.
While Melsungen won rather narrowly, other Bundesliga teams made things considerably clearer.
Füchse Berlin, who have already won the competition twice, left no doubt in Sweden. The team from the German capital led 19:11 at half-time before eventually winning 34:27.
“Already in the first half, we managed to get eight goals ahead. “We defended very well, and in the attack, our fast play worked fine,” said Füchse´s Croatian defender Jakov Gojun.
Left wing Matthias Musche had a great Saturday afternoon in Poland, scoring 13 goals for SC Magdeburg. Magdeburg convincingly overcame NMC Gornik Zabrze, 37:25, despite a narrow 17:15 lead after the first 30 minutes.
2013 winners Rhein-Neckar Löwen, the fourth Bundesliga team in the competition, also have their minds set on the group phase after winning 32:28 in Belarus against SKA Minsk.
Bramming continuing where he left off
Last season, Magnus Bramming set an all-time EHF Cup record, scoring 100 goals in a season, as he helped TTH Holstebro reach the EHF Cup Finals.
The Danish left wing continued where he left off last season, as he secored no fewer than 14 goals when Holstebro took a huge step towards the group phase again.
After their 30:25 win away against Czech champions Talent M.A.T. Plzen, the Danish team are in an extremely good position before their home game Saturday.
Denmark's other remaining representative in the competition, Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, were missing injured goalkeeper Kasper Larsen in their away match against Pfadi Winterthur Handball, but the Danish team were still able to win 36:33 in Switzerland.