ROUND PREVIEW: Two doubleheaders this weekend will decide the first two quarter-final berths in the Men’s Challenge Cup.
Challenge Cup back with a packed schedule
The Men’s Challenge Cup returns to action for 2018 this weekend with 10 matches, including two doubleheaders.
AHC Potaissa Turda, who lost the final against Portugal’s Sporting CP last season, are still in the competition and face HC Vise BM from Belgium in the Last 16.
The first leg between those two teams is taking place Saturday evening Gheorghe Baritiu in Turda, with the return match being played on 18 February.
Two quarter-finalists will be found this weekend, however. In the Palace of Sports in, Russian side SKIF Krasnodar welcome HMRK Zrinjski Mostar from Bosnia Herzegovina for a doubleheader on Saturday and Sunday, and another doubleheader is being carried out in Crauthem, Luxembourg, where HC Berchem host HC ZNTU-ZAB Zaporozhye from Ukraine.
Top scorers collide
The two top scorers in the Challenge Cup so far this season meet over the coming two weekends.
Senjin Kratovic, who has scored 38 goals for Red Boys Differdange, and Anton Otrezov, who hit the net 32 times for Dynamo-Victor, come face to face, when the team from Luxembourg meet the Russian outfit.
The first leg is played in Stavropol on Saturday, while the return match is set for 17 February in Luxembourg.
FyllingenBergen have a long tradition in Europe, which is more that can be said about their opponents in the Last 16 of the Challenge Cup.
Macedonian side HC Eurofarm Rabotnik are debutants in European competitions this season, and the Norwegian side seem rather confident before travelling to Bitola for the first leg.
“We have made big progress lately, and I hope we can bring that with us.
“There is a little doubt about our defensive work, though, and together with our goalkeepers, I think this is where we can still improve,” FyllingenBergen coach Andreas Gjeitrem explained.
Three years ago, SGS Ramhat Hashron HC made it to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup an achievement they aim to emulate when they meet IBV Vestmannaeyjar from Iceland.
The first leg takes place Itrottamidstöd in Vestmannaeyjar on Saturday afternoon.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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