First up, the results from the first day of the group stages:
Group A: Chekhovskie Medvedi 38:31 RK Partizan; SG Flensburg Handewitt 37:37 Montpellier
Group B: IK Savehof 35:31 HCM Constanza
Group D: Kadetten Schaffhausen 23:33 Barcelona
Modesty prevents us from saying that we called all those correctly. Anyway, onto Friday’s previews …
Group B: MKB Veszprém KC – Celje Pivovarna Lasko (4pm UK, live stream)
Veszprém of Hungary were finalists in 2002 but their best showing in recent years has been to make it to the final eight and in the last two years they’ve had to settle for elimination at the first knock out stage. Their Slovakian opponents today have an even less illustrious history in the Champions League but were Cup Winners Cup semi finalists last year. The points will be staying in Hungary.
Group C: Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb – Pick Szeged (5.30pm UK, live stream)
From Hungarians at home to Hungarians abroad. Pick Szeged won twice in last year’s group stages whereas Zagreb made it to the quarter finals and gave Kiel a hell of a fright. I’m going for another home victory.
Group A: Reale Ademar Leon – HSV Hamburg (6pm UK, live stream)
HSV have had a topsy-turvy Bundesliga so far – losing their opening game to Wetzlar but drawing with SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Reale Ademar Leon are unbeaten in the Asobal but their most recent match was a somewhat surprising draw against Academia Octavio. Which is a long way of saying that this is the most interesting match of the day. A draw.
Group C: Gorenje Velenje – St. Petersburg (7pm UK, live stream)
Gorenje Velenje reached the quarter finals of the EHF Cup last season where they had the misfortune to meet Rhein Neckar Loewen – but they still only lost by 3 over the 2 legs. St Petersburg are perrenial runners-up in the Russian championship and they haven’t yet made it out of the group stages in the Champions League – but they have half a dozen new players looking to prove themselves and I’m backing them to win a close one here today.