The Champions League Round of 16 matches will be played this weekend and next. The winners of the two game (aggregate goals) contests will advance to the quarterfinals in April.
Below is a handy reference page of the games, times, and video links. Of course, you can always go the EHF website for this info, but if you want to be kept in the dark as to outcomes, this is the place to start.
I’ll post a link to the full match replays when they are made available at the ehfTV site.
Game times are Central European Time (NOTE: Europe has not yet started Daylight Savings Time, so the time difference to the U.S. East Coast is just -5 hrs instead of the usual -6)
Here are the 4 matchups between the #4 and #1 seeds. The #4 seeds are listed first and will host the first leg. Point spreads are in parentheses.
Here are the 4 matchups between the #3 and #2 seeds. The #3 seeds are listed first and will host the first leg.
Current odds to win the Title
Kiel 1.5 to 1
Barcelona 2 to 1
Veszprem 6.5 to 1
Hamburg 12 to 1
Flensburg 12 to 1
Madrid 14 to 1
Kielce 17 to 1
Berlin 28 to 1
Medvedi 80 to 1
Skopje 199 to 1
Minsk 249 to 1
Celje 299 to 1
Leon 500 to 1
Velenje 499 to 1
Silkeborg 500 to 1
Szeged 500 to 1
Odds point to Madrid vs. Berlin as the pairing to watch
The handicap point spreads for the first leg only have 2 home teams (Minsk and Madrid) favored to win. Coupled with the very long odds for those 6 teams to win the title this suggests that the other 6 matches may be foregone conclusions. After all, if they aren’t even favored to win on their home floor what can be expected from the on the road in the return leg? Further, the Minsk-Metalurg matchup while it might be a close contest between two evenly matched sides whoever wins that matchup will face long odds regardless of who they play in the quarterfinal. All this points to there being only one quality pairing: Madrid vs. Berlin.
Suggested viewing guide
As many of you know since I moved back to the U.S., I rarely, if ever watch any of the Champions League games live. The time difference in a busy schedule just doesn’t make it very practical. Fortunately, ehfTV has a great archive of all the matches and if you’re careful you can access that archive without finding out the scores first. With so many games and limited time here’s how I suggest you watch the matches over the next couple of weeks. (Or take a month, if you like the 1/4 finals aren’t till later in April)
1) Watch all of the first leg between Madrid vs. Berlin
2) Check out the first leg of the 6 matches where the home teams are underdogs. Fast forward through match and if the home team is putting up a fight plan on watch more of the match towards the end. Keep in mind, though, that with the two game aggregate format these underdogs can’t be content with a narrow win as it will be a lot tougher on the road in the 2nd leg.
3) Watch all of the 2nd leg of Madrid vs. Berlin (or at least as long is interesting in terms of aggregate)
4) Hopefully watch all of a “surprise” 2nd leg contest(s) where the favorites has a sizable aggregate to make up.
5) Watch the Minsk-Skopje contests
EHF First Leg Preview: Link
VIDEO Archive: ehfTV Full Matches: Link