Handball fans have one more weekend of Champions League handball before a long dry spell starts. With the Christmas break and the European Championships taking place Week 8 won’t start until February. With 6 weeks in the books it’s pretty clear for the most part which 16 teams will advance to the knockout stages.
One exception, however, is this week’s Match of the Week between Celje and Zagreb as both sides are tied for 4th place in Group A. Zagreb won their first meeting, but Celje is a 2.5 goal favorite this Saturday in Slovenia. While neither of these two sides have a chance of making it to the final four this should be an evenly matched game between two sides seeking a ticket to the knockout rounds. The match will also include Tom Ó Brannagáin’s English language commentary.
Celje vs. Zagreb (Saturday,30 Nov 2030 CET/1430 U.S. Eastern Time)
(Note to U.S. residents: After a two week break beIN Sport will be rebroadcasting the Match of the Week on Wednesday, 4 December, 1700 U.S. Eastern Time)
There are a couple of other matches worth watching. In Denmark, Aalborg will host Flensburg in a match that could end up deciding who gets 2nd place in Group. Flensburg were able to turn the tables late in the match against Hamburg last week to strengthen their hold on 2nd place, but an away loss to Aalborg will drop them down to 3rd place. Flensburg won the first match between the two sides 31-27 but might have a little more trouble winning at Aalborg. Aalborg is led in scoring by the atypical Mads Mensah Larsen, who’s having a breakout season. Atypical for two reasons: he’s a Dane of African descent and more bulky and compact then your typical centerback. ehfTV has a nice Inside the Game feature on him: Link
Aalborg vs Flensburg (Sunday, 1 Dec 1600 CET/1000 U.S. Eastern Time)
The final, maybe interesting match to watch could be Minsk vs Paris. I say “maybe” because on paper Paris should have no problem with Minsk. But, Paris has been known so far this season to play down to the level of their competition. Paris won the first meeting between these two sides, 34-30, but the match was tightly contested until the very end. With the match in Belarus, Minsk could very well surprise again.
Minsk vs Paris (Sunday, 1 Dec 1700 CET/1100 U.S. Eastern Time)
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.