Europe’s team season has reached the very exciting stage of the season, when the first names are decided and assorted contests advancement to the knock-out stage. The VELUX EHF Champions League is one such competition, and also the top 16 men’s teams from the continent are now prepared to begin the last race to the decoration.
The Last 16 task begins on Wednesday March 20 in Germany, when Rhein-Neckar Löwen host one of the finalists from the prior season, HBC Nantes, inside their first-leg encounter. The winner of each Last 16 pairing is decided depending on the aggregate final score over two games.
The remaining Last 16 games throw-off on Saturday March 2-3. Back in Ukraine, HC Motor Zaporozhye will likely welcome side PGE Vive Kielce, that won the Champions League name in 20-16. The return leg of this encounter is going to be played March 30.
Also throwing off Saturday are Belarusian unwanted HC Meshkov Brest and current German champions SG Flensburg-Handewitt, who will play with the second leg Sunday March 31.
The ultimate first-leg Last 16 pairing beginning their 120-minute battle for a place in the quarter finals on Saturday will choose the court in the Croatian capital, as H C PPD Zagreb host the 20 17 winners H C Vardar out of FYR Macedonia.
Two more Last 16 clashes will begin on Sunday March 24. Back in Poland, Orlen WISla Plock will host in-form MOL-Pick Szeged for that first leg until the two sides travel to Hungary for the second leg Sunday March 31. Meanwhile, in Portugal, Last 16 debutants Sporting CP will likely welcome five-time finalists — but not winners — Telekom Veszprém HC. Much like their fellow Hungarian side, Szeged, Veszprém input the Last 16 in strong sort. Since the second-placed sides within their respective groups, the two Hungarian teams appear solid contenders for that name.
The winners of the two preliminary playing groups, current Super Globe name holders Barça Lassa and French winners Paris SaintGermain HB, earned the best to bypass the Last 16 and can wait for the outcomes of this point to master their competitors for the quarter finals.