Week 6 of the Champions League is very much a rerun of Week 5. This is because the same teams that played in week 5 will play each other again. Only this time the matches will be played at the other team’s home court. Since Skopje’s two club sides (Vardar and Metalurg) both play their matches in the same venue this week’s “Match of the Week” is even more of a deja vu event. Last week Vardar was clearly the better team and Metalurg will need a much better performance if they don’t want to slip into 5th place in Group B. Sunday’s match in Skopje includes Tom Ó Brannagáin’s English language commentary.
(Note to U.S. residents: beIN Sport, the U.S. TV rights holder has apparently made a programming decision to not broadcast the Champions League this week. If you want to watch the match you’ll need to do so online at ehfTV.)
The other matches worth watching are again the same as last week’s. The all German derby moves this week to Flensburg. Last week Hamburg was clearly the better side winning 32-27 and the win put Hamburg 3 points up on Flensburg in the standings for Group D. Even with a win tonight (Thursday) Flensburg will still be down a point due to their earlier draw against Naturhouse La Rioja. But, perhaps Flensburg better be more concerned with simply holding on to second place. Another loss to Hamburg could very well slip them into 3rd place behind Denmark’s Aalborg. And with Flensburg travelling to Aalborg next weekend they could face a must win situation there to avoid a challenging Round of 16 opponent.
The third interesting match will be Kolding’s visit to Kielce on Sunday. Last week I postulated that if either Kiel or Kielce was going to slip up in Group B it would be on the road at Kolding. And slip up Kielce did, losing 29-24. Now a more confident Kolding side will try beating Kielce again this time in a far more difficult setting in Kielce. One would think that Kielce will take care of business at home, but it will be interesting to see what happens. And, if you’re a Kolding fan you might even start thinking bigger. A win at Kielce would put Kolding in the driver’s seat to win the Group.
I will replace the live video links with on demand video links when they are available at the ehfTV website. If you go to the ehf website yourself click on the side arrows to get to the “Full Match” page. A word of caution, however, the EHF sometimes posts match interviews with revealing titles like “Jicha scores the decisive goal,” so you might want to use a sheet of paper to mask the screen if you want to watch the matches oblivious to the outcome.