10/01/2020

2016 and 2018 champions clash in Trondheim

GROUP A, C & E PREVIEW: The two most recent EHF EURO champions, Spain and Germany, will face each other on Saturday

Germany won their first match, but will the 2016 champions beat 2018 champions Spain on Saturday? Photo © Stanko Gruden / kolektiff

Group C in Trondheim will see a potential clash for victory in the group – and four important main round points – as defending EHF EURO champions Spain and their predecessors Germany meet. Ahead of that match, newcomers Latvia and Netherlands hope for their first-ever EHF EURO victory.

Group E opens with Hungary on the hunt for their first-ever EHF EURO win over Russia, who are back at the final tournament after missing the 2018 event. The day in Malmö will close with a battle between familiar coaches Nikolaj Jacobsen and Gudmundur Gudmundsson, as the world and Olympic title-holders Denmark meet Iceland.

In group A in Graz, Croatia will try to extend their perfect EHF EURO record against Belarus, who also opened the tournament with a victory. And in the Balkan derby, both Montenegro and Serbia look to earn their first points in the competition.

GROUP A

Croatia vs Belarus
Thursday 11 January, 16:00 CET, live on ehftv.com

  • both sides won their opening games, as Croatia defeated Montenegro 27:21, and Belarus beat Serbia 35:30
  • Belarus’ Artsem Karalek was the top scorer of day 1 with nine goals
  • Croatia’s Domagoj Duvnjak scored just once against Montenegro, but became player of the match thanks to his great defensive performance
  • the teams have faced each other in 12 competitive matches, and Croatia won 10 times while two more games ended in a draw
  • at the EHF EURO, Croatia have won all four games against Belarus, most recently in the main round of 2018 competition (25:23)

Montenegro vs Serbia
Thursday 11 January, 18:15 CET, live on ehftv.com

  • both teams opened the tournament with defeats
  • Montenegro are yet to claim their maiden win at the EHF EURO tournaments; so far their record is one draw and 15 defeats
  • two Serbian players, Aleksa Kolakovic and Mijajlo Marsenic, were born in Montenegro, while Branko Kankaras from the Montenegro team was born in Serbia
  • each of the teams have just one player from the domestic league in their rosters: left wing Aleksandar Bakic from RK Komovi (Montenegro) and left back Stevan Sretenovic from RK Vojvodina (Serbia)
  • the two teams have met only twice, at the EHF EURO 2016 qualification, when Serbia won one match and the other game ended in a draw

GROUP C

Latvia vs Netherlands
Thursday 11 January, 16:00 CET, live on ehftv.com

  • both EHF EURO debutants lost their respective first ever matches by 11 goals: Latvia against Spain, the Netherlands against Germany
  • despite the defeats, both sides had the Player of the Match in their squads: Dainis Kristopans (Latvia) and Luc Steins (Netherlands)
  • the two sides were in the same group for both the EHF EURO 2018 and 2020 qualifying tournaments, with the Netherlands winning three out of four matches
  • the Dutch 25:21 victory in their last encounter in June was the key for their first ever EHF EURO ticket
  • a total of 10 players on court – six Dutch and four Latvians - play for German clubs

Spain vs Germany
Thursday 9 January, 18:15 CET, live on ehftv.com

  • this is a re-match of the 2016 EHF EURO final, which Germany won 24:17
  • at the EHF EURO 2018 Spain beat Germany in the main round on their way to their first ever European title
  • German goalkeeper Andreas Wolff will face four Vive Kielce teammates: Dujshebaev brothers Alex and Daniel, Julen Aguinagalde, and Angel Fernandez
  • line player Gedeon Guardiola is the only Spaniard signed by a German club – and will face his Rhein-Neckar Löwen teammates Uwe Gensheimer and Jannik Kohlbacher
  • Germany’s Gensheimer and Spaniards Jorge Maqueda and Viran Morros received direct red cards in their openers, but are eligible to play

GROUP E

Hungary vs Russia
Saturday 11 January, 16:00 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • in four EHF EURO matches played between the sides, Hungary have never beaten Russia
  • the teams were in the same EHF EURO 2020 qualifier group, where Hungary recorded a six-goal win in the first encounter in Astrakhan and the second match ended in a draw
  • Russia return to the EURO after failing to qualify for the 2018 edition in Croatia – the first time they had ever missed the event
  • this is the first match at a major international championship for Hungary coach Istvan Gulyas, who took the role in July 2019
  • Russia are 16 goals away from hitting 2,000 scored at EHF EUROs

Denmark vs Iceland
Saturday 11 January, 18:15 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Iceland wing Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson starts the EHF EURO as the all-time top goal scorer, with 270 goals between 2000 to 2018
  • Denmark centre back Rasmus Lauge is not yet at full fitness but has been named in the squad for the opener
  • 2019 World Championship MVP Mikkel Hansen is six shy of the 200-goal mark at EHF EUROs. With his 200th goal, Hansen will become only the fourth player in history with this achievement
  • it will be a battle between coaches with interwoven history – Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen succeeded Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson at both German club Rhein-Neckar Löwen and with the Denmark national team
  • Gudmundsson won the 2016 Olympic gold medal coaching Denmark; Jacobsen claimed the World Championship title with Denmark last January
written by Sergey Nikolaev, Björn Pazen, Courtney Gahan / jh