10 places in qualification round 2 up for grabs
After the conclusion of qualification round 1 of the EHF European League 2022/23 this weekend, 10 teams will earn berths for qualification round 2 – and some teams took a huge step towards progression in the first leg last weekend.
While several crunch ties will produce winners on Saturday and Sunday, IK Sävehof and FTC are in strong positions ahead of the return fixtures. Sävehof clinched a 45:21 win in the first leg against AHC Potaissa Turda, while FTC secured a 36:27 win against CS Minaur Baia Mare.
- Bjerringbro-Silkeborg were the only team other than FTC to take an away win in the first leg. The Danish side beat Spanish team Rebi Balonmano Cuenca 31:26
- the most balanced ties seem to be between Slovenian outfit RK Trimo Trebnje and Swedish side IFK Kristianstad, who produced the only draw of the first leg, 33:33, and the one which sees Portuguese club Aguas Santas Milaneza host Finnish team HC Cocks, who clinched a 22:21 win in the first match
- after securing a 39:34 win in the first leg against BM Logroño La Rioja, TBV Lemgo Lippe are aiming to become the third German club in qualification round 2, with SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Frisch Auf Göppingen directly seeded to that phase
- after taking a 28:26 win in the first leg, Kolstad Handball will look to use their experience against Norwegian side Drammen in the last match scheduled for Sunday evening
- Sävehof right wing Sebastian Karlsson was the top scorer in the first leg matches in qualification round 1 — putting 15 goals past Potaissa Turda. Kolstad's Sigvaldi Bjørn Gudjonsson (10 goals) was the other player to score at least 10 goals, while three others scored nine times
New clashes to decide round 2 qualifiers
Every team wants European success and the EHF European League Men qualification round 1 can produce the winners of the competition, which happened last season when SL Benfica had to beat two sides to reach the group phase. Once there, the Portuguese powerhouse club were unstoppable and went on to claim the title.
This time around, things look more complicated, with some strong sides already waiting in qualification round 2 and in the group phase, so every match counts. After the clash between TBV Lemgo Lippe and BM Logroño La Rioja, where the German side have to protect their 39:34 lead in Spain, qualification round 1 will see one team that participated in the group phase last season eliminated.
IFK Kristianstad, an experienced club in European competitions, are backed into a corner after drawing their first leg, 33:33, against Slovenian side RK Trimo Trebnje, who are bidding to qualify for the group phase for the second time in three years.
With 12 teams directly seeded for qualification round 2, things might look tough for the teams coming from this phase of the competition, but they can still dream, as several have plenty of experience and a well-built squad to compete at this level.
Full schedule (first leg results are shown in brackets)
Saturday 3 September
16:00 CEST: Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) vs Rebi Balonmano Cuenca (ESP) (31:26)
17:00 CEST: AHC Potaissa Turda (ROU) vs IK Sävehof (SWE) (21:45)
17:00 CEST: CSM Constanta (ROU) vs Chambery Savoie Mont Blanc Handball (FRA) (23:27)
19:00 CEST: Aguas Santas Milaneza (POR) vs HC Cocks (FIN) (21:22)
19:00 CEST: RK Trimo Trebnje (SLO) vs IFK Kristianstad (SWE) (33:33)
19:00 CEST: BM Logroño La Rioja (ESP) vs TBV Lemgo Lippe (GER) (34:39)
Sunday 4 September
15:00 CEST: GC Amicitia Zürich (SUI) vs Górnik Zabrze (19:27)
16:00 CEST: FTC (HUN) vs CS Minaur Baia Mare (36:27)
19:00 CEST: HC Eurofarm Pelister 2 (MKD) vs Alpla HC Hard (AUT) (21:24)
20:00 CEST: Drammen HK (NOR) vs Kolstad Handball (NOR) (26:28)