Blimey … you wait for months for some Champions League handball and then three matches come along at once. If this was US primary season they’d be calling it Super Thursday. As it is, we’ll just direct you to the three games you can see today via the good people at EHF TV (free, uninterrupted but no commentary).
(A recap: this is match round 8 of the group stage. As there are six teams per group there are ten matches and four qualifiers. Quite a lot of the qualification, if not placings, has already been decided).
We start at 2.45pm with Chekhovskie Medvedi at home to HSV Hamburg. The two teams top their group and drew 27:27 in Hamburg back in October. The “Chekhov Bears” (and indeed HSV) have lost to German opposition in the Champions League this year – away t0 Flensburg-Handewitt. Providing the two teams play to their best and field first teams this should be a close one.
That’s followed at 6.30pm by another match from Group A. Partizan Beograd (Belgrade) recorded a home win over Spanish opposition in October but haven’t collected a single point away from home so far. Today they are at Flensburg-Handewitt whose two drawn matches prevent them occupying top spot. This one should not be close.
Finally, at 7pm, a match that could mean a lot for qualification. Pick Szeged have four points, Kadetten Schaffhausen have 2. In their previous encounter in Hungary, Szeged won by the odd point in 59. Schaffhausen’s sole win was at home and if they repeat that today they will be back in the mix for the fourth and final qualifying spot in this group.
Bless the good people at Premier Sports. The World Championship Final between Spain and Denmark will be live from 4.05pm (match starts 4.15pm) on Sunday 27 January on Sky Channel 428. Free to anyone as well as they’re having a freeview weekend.
The Match of the Week is coming to British television. Premier Sports – a subscription channel on the Sky platform on channel 428 – has today announced that it will be showing the Tom O’Brannagáin commentated fixtures either live or on delay as well as the weekly Rewind Show. The first match to be shown will be Kadetten Schaffhausen v Pick Szeged on Saturday afternoon.
There is no word in the announcement as to whether this will stop British Eurosport 2 offering their own, sparser, coverage or whether the Match of the Week will now be blacked out on the EHF TV live stream.
Without that much fanfare and with your humble blogger missing it in the excitement of the Match of the Week news the EHF have announced that all group stages matches in both the men’s and women’s Champions League tournaments will be live at ehftv.com.
The schedule for the men’s matches is confirmed (although it wasn’t up at ehftv.com when I checked) but the women’s will be determined after the results of this weekend’s qualification tournaments which sees two Brits going for Champions League glory in the same group: Holly Lam-Moores for Viborg and Kathryn Fudge for LC Bruehl. There are four places in the main group stage available – the losers have the pleasure of the EHF Cup Winners Cup.
I’ll have a preview and hopefully some idea of where to watch the women’s qualifiers up tomorrow.
If you could tear yourself away from Saturday tea time TV there were a couple of live handball matches streaming today. You could have seen Atletico Madrid make it two wins from two at the start of their Asobal season and then washed that down with HSV Hamburg’s come from behind victory at Hanover. Don’t worry if you didn’t, the matches are probably archived for later viewings if such things take your fancy.
Tomorrow there are also two matches, one from the Asobal and one from the Bundesliga. At 4.30pm you can see Fuechse Berlin (it means Berlin Foxes) have a tilt at THW Kiel. Fuechse joined Kiel in the Champions League Final 4 last season but anything other than a victory for the zebras would be a surprise. Then at 7pm it’s Naturhouse la Rioja against Valladolid. Both teams lost their first match but were both top half finishers last season so it should be close.
Head over to here to watch the games. If I can get myself onto a laptop that can tweet *and* stream at the same time I’ll have some live words of almost-wisdom on the Handball Views twitter feed which is @handballviewsuk.
So with grim predictability Barcelona got their domestic season off to a winning start although the sparse home crowd must have been a bit bewildered to see the boys in blue and red stripes trail 5-1 after 6 minutes before the Catalans remembered that shooting on target is a useful skill and headed into a lead by half time they never looked like losing, winning the second half 13:7 for a 26:19 win. Victor Gonzalez topscored for Barcelona with 8 goals from 11 shots.
Now, following their humbling at home in the Supercopa, it’s time for Atletico Madrid to open their campaign. They do so against my favouritely-named team: Naturhouse la Rioja (they seem like a fun bunch too). The match starts at 7pm UK time and is live on Bet365 (who for reference have given Naturhouse an eight goal lead in the betting). Once this match is done we’ll have finished the first round of Asobal matches with only another 29 rounds left to determine which of the big two takes the title.
Stick a quid in a Bet365 account (other bookies are available) and you’ll be able to watch the Catalans begin the defence of their Asobal title. Fresh from their win over Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa the club officially called FC Barcelona Intersport play Helvetia Anaitasuna tonight, starting at 5pm UK.
Don’t expect a close one though: Barcelona won 32:18 and 35:23 in their matches last season last season.