ROUND PREVIEW: With two teams already in the final qualification round of the Men's EHF Cup, 28 teams still have more or less realistic hopes of following them this weekend.
28 teams still chasing Round 3 berth
An exciting weekend of Men's EHF Cup action is coming up as the last 14 teams for Round 3, the final qualification round for the group phase of the competition, will be determined.
ZTR Zaporozhye of Ukraine and Górnik Zabrze of Poland have already booked their tickets for the third round after their double-header wins last weekend.
Virtually in the next round
KIF Kolding Kobenhavn are virtually in the next round after their 15-goal win (38:23) at home against M. A. T. Talent Plzen. The Czech champions have a steep mountain to climb in the return match Sunday evening.
“You do not always know under what conditions you get to play when playing away, but our 15-goal lead should be more than enough to proceed,” KIF defence veteran Lars Jørgensen said.
A home team with much better chances to reach the next round are Maccabi Srugo Rishon Lezion. The Israeli team are only one goal down before receiving Red Boys Differdange from Luxembourg on Sunday afternoon.
Rishon Lezion won 26:25 away in the first match. Even though Differdange catched up with four goals after the vistors' five-goal lead at half-time, Rishon Lezion are still in a good position to go on.
Flying home with a good feeling
This is also the case for Alingsas HK after the losing finalists from the Swedish championship last season earned a 24:24 draw at Haukar Iceland.
Considering the fact that Alingsas clawed back from an eight-goal deficit in the first match, it is no wonder that they flew home with a good feeling.
“There is much we need to improve in our game, and in the return match, we will have make a decent start in order to advance,” Alingsas coach Mikael Franzén said.
Keep the dream alive
SKA Minsk were in the group phase of the tournament last season, and the team from the Belarusian capital still have the chance to keep the dream alive of a repeat.
All it takes to reach the third round is wiping out their three-goal deficit from the 28:25 away defeat to HC Alpla Hard. But it will be a confident Austrian team who enter the Sport Palace Uruchje in Minsk late Sunday afternoon.
“Our win in the first game might have been a goal or two too narrow, but I still think we are in a fine position for the return match,” Hard coach Petr Hrachovec said.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
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