Semi-final pairings for TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 set
Taking place inside a magnificent truck, complete with its own studio, to celebrate TruckScout24's first sponsorship of the flagship European handball event, the draw for the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 threw up two enticing semi-finals.
The draw in full;
SEMI-FINALS - 17 June
Semi-final 1: SC Magdeburg (GER) vs Barça (ESP)
Semi-final 2: Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs Barlinek Industria Kielce (POL)
On 18 June, the third-place match will be at 15:15 CEST, before the final at 18:00 CEST.
Making the relatively short trip to the LANXESS arena in Cologne for the first time on 17/18 June will be SC Magdeburg, who have been drawn against reigning champions Barça, who will be attempting a third successive title.
2016 winners Barlinek Industria Kielce have been matched with five-time EHF FINAL4 participants Paris Saint-Germain Handball.
Kielce lost last year's final in heart-breaking fashion in a penalty shoot-out, while the Parisians are still looking for their first title after many near misses.
Therefore, we could see either a repeat of last season's dramatic final, or a final which would see two potential first-time EHF FINAL4 victors face each other.
Speaking after the draw, Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, Barça's goalkeeper, is determined to win another title, “One thing is for sure, once you win it and feel it, you want to feel it again. Other three teams want the same, so it will be tough. It was so nice to win it last season after that tough final. We said to ourselves at the start of this season that we want to be back in Cologne and win it again, for the third time in a row. That would be big for us, for the fans and for the club.
Christian O’Sullivan of SC Magdeburg knows how tough the task ahead will be, "Barça are one of the hardest team to meet. But either way it would have been a tough semi-final. It is going to be an exciting game. Our opponents have shown in the last two seasons they have a world-class team and in my opinion they are the biggest favourites to win the whole thing. A chance to win this tournament means everything to us. We have been only watching this event for so many years and finally we have a chance to be part of it and play for the trophy.”
Barlinek Industria Kielce's Andreas Wolff was pleased not to meet the current holders at this stage, “Honestly, it doesn’t matter who we play in the semi-final. But yes, it is good to avoid Barça , in the group phase they beat us twice and we also lost that final last year, so I hope we can get our revenge in the final now. The memories of the last year get more present as we come closer to Cologne. It took some time to realise that we were this close to fulfil our dream last time. We are going to write our own history now. Defence is our masterpiece but also our attack is a strong weapon. But Paris has also showed some very good defence in this season.”
Luka Karabatic of Paris Saint-Germain Handball knows that anything can happen in Cologne, “It is going to be tough as they are one of the best teams in the world. They are the finalists of the last year. When you arrive to Cologne you know the semi-final will be completely different. After five attempts our desire is strong, hopefully we will get a lot from the experience of the previous times.”
A limited number of tickets for the 2023 TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 still remain. If you would like to witness the climax to the Machineseeker EHF Champions League for this season, click here. For other tickets to EHF events, check out the EHF ticket shop.