Four Clubs, two tickets: Group phase awaits close finish
Only a single round remains of the adult men ’s EHF Cup Group Phase 2018/19 – and the excitement was not able to be greater.
And four additional teams continue to be in the race for two open areas from the knock out period.
As hosts Kiel have booked their ticket to the AKQUINET EHF Cup Finals, the quarter finals will contain three games – pitting the three remaining group winners against the three best-ranked runners up.
Which means that the summer growing season will soon be over after this weekend to get its lowest-ranked runner-up from the 4 groups.
What we know so much:
Porto at Group C and Kiel at Group D won all five games so far and have fastened the top spot within their various groups.
Only in Group D that the second-ranked team was supported: GOG, after their 41:29 win against KS Azoty-Pulawy SA last Saturday.
Füchse Berlin and Saint-Raphaël Var Handball out of Group A, Grundfos Tatabánya KC out of Group B and Porto out of Group C have booked their tickets to the Quarterfinals. But Porto, none of the teams know whether they are going to win the band or finish runners up, which is very important to the quarter-final draw.
Teams outside of the quarter-final race:
BM Logroño La Rioja and Balatonfüredi KSE out of Group A, HC Eurofarm Rabotnik out of Group B, HC Dobrogea Sud Constanta out of Group C (after shedding immediate duel together with T Th Holstebro), Fraikin BM. Granollers and Azoty-Pulawy from Group D.
What we do not know so much:
ingroup A, Füchse and Saint-Raphaël are flat on eight points, but the defending champions out of Germany have the better head to head result (33:29 win in home, 34:31 defeat away). So if both teams remain level on points after Round 6 – with Füchse vs Balatonfüred on Sunday and La Rioja vs Saint-Raphaël on Saturday – that the group win will probably belong to Füchse.
In Form B, Tatabánya defeated leaders RK Nexe’s fortress at Round 5 and put the Croatian side under real pressure. A draw Eurofarm has already been enough for the Hungarian side to complete top since they won the lead encounters against Nexe and TSV Hannover-Burgdorf. Nexe can simply finish at the top if they win in Hannover on Wednesday and Tatabánya lose against Eurofarm four months after.
With only 4 points and a goal difference of +3, t-th Holstebro in Group C are at the lowest position to get a quarter final berth. They could simply move if they win against Liberbank Cuenca on Saturday and GOG lose away against Granollers ingroup D the following day. Should GOG get at least one point, they truly are throughout.
In Group B ), Hannover (five points) sponsor Nexe (six) on Wednesday to get a genuine do-or-die game. Should Hannover win, they move to the quarter-finals; a draw or even a victory for Nexe will observe the Croatian negative advance. A week ago Hannover were near to elimination but their away win against Eurofarm and Nexe’s home defeat Tatabánya have thrown that the group available .
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew