19.11.2019 16:00

Road to EHF Cup group phase reaches destination

In 2018, HBC Nantes played the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and finished runners-up. Last season, the French side reached the quarter-final in the Champions League.

But this season, Nantes are in danger of dropping out of the Men’s EHF Cup even before the group phase.

In the second leg of EHF Cup qualification round 3, Nantes are defending a slim one-goal lead after winning 30:29 at home against OIF Arendal last Sunday.

The Norwegian side could have been in an even more favourable situation as they led Nantes by five goals at one point in the first leg and were still ahead with just over two minutes left on the clock.

The decisive return match takes place in Sparebanken Sör Amfi in Arendal on Sunday at 17:00 CET (live on ehfTV.com).

Three Hungarian teams each with three-goal lead

The second-leg action in round 3 will already throw off on Wednesday evening, when Rhein-Neckar Löwen host SKA Minsk after winning the first leg 32:28 in Belarus last Sunday.

At least two of the other three German participants may expect a smooth final part of their journey into the group phase.

SC Magdeburg start their home game against NMC Górnik Zabrze backed by a 12-goal lead (27:25) from the first leg, while Füchse Berlin took home a seven-goal advantage (34:27) from their trip to Sweden and last season’s finalists should not get in trouble when hosting HK Malmö on Sunday.

The only Bundesliga team who might face a serious challenge are MT Melsungen, who will be defending a 32:28 lead against Olympiacos SFP in Greece on Sunday at 17:00 CET (live on efTV.com).

The three Hungarian teams in the competition are all defending a three-goal advantage on Saturday after winning their home matches in the first leg.

Balatonfüredi KSE, having won 30:27 last week, travel to Spain to take on Abanca Ademar Leon on Saturday at 19:30 CET (live at ehfTV.com); last season’s quarter-finalists Grundfos Tatabánya defend a 27:24 lead when meeting ZTR Zaporozhye in Ukraine; and Csurgói KK are taking a 28:25 lead with them to USAM Nîmes Gard in France.

Everything to play for in Polish derby

The national derby in Poland is still far from decided after KPR Gwardia Opole, who have not been this far in the competition before, won the first leg against KS Azoty-Pulawy by just two goals (26:24).

Pulawy, a group phase participant two seasons ago, host the return leg in the Hala Sportowa Pulawach on Saturday at 19:00 CET (live on ehfTV.com).

Things seem clearer in the other national derby: in France, PAUC won the opening leg at Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc Handbal 25:20 and will try to build on this five-goal lead in the return game in their own Arena Du Pays D’Aix on Saturday.

There are two more matches featured on EHF’s live stream channel.

ALPLA Hard are looking for a miracle when the Austrian side tries to make up a 16-goal deficit against Liberbank Cuenca after losing 34:18 in Spain last week. The return game starts Saturday at 17:00 CET (live on ehfTV.com).

Also, SL Benfica hope to overcome a four-goal deficit from the first leg in Croatia (30:26) when they host RK Nexe in Portugal on Saturday at 19:00 CET (live on ehfTV.com).

Author: Peter Bruun / ew